13 Amazing Benefits of Meditation

Meditation has immersed health benefits to the body and mind. These benefits includes decreasing depression and anxiety, lowering stress, phobias and panic, enhancing grey matter concentration in the brain, improving psychometric vigilance, increasing gamma ray generation in the brain, helps reduce substance and alcohol abuse, improves ability to fight pain, helps improves focus, helps improves mood, and reduces the risk of heart ailment and stroke.

What is meditation?

The scientific research on meditation, although present in abundance, is still is not as robust as that on nutrition and exercise. It is still thought to provoke how meditation and mindfulness have managed to stay around for centuries. There has to be a good reason for this and to dig that out; we must first define meditation.

According to a study published in Perspectives on Psychological Science, ‘meditation mindfulness is being non-judgmentally aware of the experiences in the present moment.’ Meditation is typically defined in general literature as ‘the profound and continuous musing or contemplation on either a subject or a series of subjects that are deep or abstruse in nature.’

13 Amazing Benefits of Meditation

13 Amazing Benefits of Meditation

1.  Decrease Depression and Other Anxiety Disorders

Multiple studies show that meditation yield amazing results in lowering the incidence of depression. Research conducted on middle school and another study conducted on formerly diagnosed patients with depression show that meditation significantly lowers down the depressed mood levels and controls ruminative thinking and negative automatic thoughts.

2. Lowers the Level of Stress, Phobias, and Panic in General

Other psychological disorders such as general stress, anxiety, and phobias are significantly reduced with the practice of meditation. Because meditation helps contemplate on the present moment without judging any experience in any way whatsoever, the cause of all these problems is treated on its own.

Over 20 randomized studies have concluded that patients with these psychological issues significantly feel better after practicing meditation of several types that might include Yoga, Meditative Prayer, and Relaxation Response.

Another study equals the response of meditation healing with the antidepressant drug when treating depression and anxiety or related disorders.

3. Meditation Enhances Grey matter Concentration in the Brain

Grey matter is responsible for all things creative and revolutionary that mankind has done so far. A group of Harvard University neuroscientists inducted eight people into a guided meditation program. At the end of the program, the MRI scans of these individuals showed significant spikes in the grey matter concentration.

Other studies have concluded that long-term meditator has larger hippocampal and frontal volumes for grey matter.

4. Improves Psychometric Vigilance

Research conducted in the University of Kentucky showed at least a short-term improvement in performance even in novice meditators. Meditation has also shown to be highly effective in increasing vigilance and being more alert toward any stimulation, no matter how low in intensity. The stimulation only needs to be at a threshold of ‘just noticeable.’

Long-term meditators showed a significant decrease in sleep. Whether meditation practices pay off sleep or actually decrease the need for sleep is yet to be found.

5. Increases Gamma Rays Generation in the Brain

Richard Davidson, a neuroscientist from University of Wisconsin, conducted a study on Tibetan Monks. It was concluded that long-term meditators, which mostly included the monks, showed such a high level of gamma rays in the brain that it was completely new for the neuroscience research literature. Novice meditators also showed a slight increase in gamma rays activity.

6. Reduces Substance and Alcohol Abuse

Vipassana type of meditation was used in the studies conducted in incarcerated populations. The result showed that it significantly reduced substance abuse and excessive alcohol intake.

7. Improves the Ability to Fight with Pain

A study conducted at University of Montreal compared 13 non-practitioners of meditation with 13 Zen masters by exposing them with equaling degree of painful heat. Their brain activity was measured through fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imagery). The study found that Zen meditators experienced far less pain than their non-practicing counterparts.

In fact, they reported even less pain than their fMRI image outputs indicated, thereby showing that even the level of pain their brain perceived was the same as that of any other individual, but their resilience and ability to experience it as less was far more improved than an ordinary individual.

8. Extremely Useful in Dealing with ADHD

An intervention based study conducted on 50 adult patients with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) showed terrific results on the effectiveness of meditation. The group was exposed to a therapy known as Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT). The result showed a significant decrease in impulsivity, hyperactivity, and enhanced skill of ‘acting-with-awareness’.

9.  Helps Focus Better and for Longer

According to a study conducted in Emory University, the University of Atlanta, the connectivity within the brain networks that are responsible for controlling attention was observed to be enhanced in people who regularly practiced meditation. This relationship between neurons is found to be involved in disengaging from distraction, and maintaining attention.

10. Improves Mood and Overall Psychological Wellbeing

Nottingham Trent University of UK researched on the benefits of meditation training on people with low mood. The researchers found that participants with low mood and decreased satisfaction with the quality of life when underwent meditation training, felt better and their overall psychological well-being was increased.

11. Improves Working Memory and Visuospatial Processing

Significant increase in working memory, executive functioning and visuospatial processing was observed in participants who had underwent even only four sessions of meditation training. This research can be very useful even for students who find it hard to concentrate or thereafter, memorize a concept.

12. Reduces the Risk of Heart Ailments and Stroke

Decreased cardiovascular health take more lives on average per annum than any other illness. A study conducted in 2012 asked those with a high risk of heart diseases to either take a class promoting dietary change and exercise or undergo meditation training.

Over a course of 5 years, the results of the study showed a marked 48% decrease in risk of mortality due to stroke, myocardial infarction, and coronary heart disease in the group that chose to undergo meditation training. These changes were part and parcel of decreased blood pressure and psychosocial stress factors. Other studies have also pointed out an increased overall health, especially the heart health, in the practitioners of meditation.

13. Lowers Heightened Blood Pressure

Studies have shown that Zen meditation (Zazen) and relaxation response type of meditation significantly controls hypertension. The meditation was done for three months by the participants in the study, and the result was a significant 2/3 drop in their heightened blood pressure.

Another study conducted jointly in Spain and France concluded that meditation generates some molecular and genetic effects in the practitioners. Specifically, it aided in the reduction of pro-inflammatory genes thereby speeding up the process of recovery.

Bottom Line

Meditation comes with a range of benefits for one’s physical, psychological and emotional wellbeing and thus everyone should include it as an essential practice in their lifestyle.

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