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Millions of people across the globe practise the art of meditation to clear their minds of unwanted thoughts, improve awareness and attain a stable and calm mind. Just a few minutes of meditation every day is known to improve one’s physical and mental health in different ways. It’s a globally accepted practice, which is why World Meditation Day is celebrated on the 21st of May.
People also use meditation to sleep better, have a positive mindset, develop confidence and self-discipline. Let’s look at some amazing benefits of meditation that have been proven by scientific studies.
Meditation is a great way to reduce stress. By practising mindfulness, one can minimise the effects of stress and reduce stress-inducing thoughts. Reducing stress is one of the key reasons why people try meditation in the first place.
Stress is caused by hormones called cortisols, which induce cytokines as an inflammatory response to stress. Cytokines can lead to high blood pressure, trouble sleeping, and increased anxiety and fatigue. Studies show that regular meditation results in a decreased inflammatory response and hence reduces stress.
Other consequences of stress, like irritable bowel syndrome, PTSD and fibromyalgia also show reduced symptoms.
Medication is called the exercise of the mind. Some forms of meditation focus on eliminating negative thoughts and instilling a positive mindset. A study demonstrated that people who meditated showed lesser negative thoughts when shown negative images as compared to people who don’t meditate. Meditation also improves symptoms of depression.
Improving awareness about your own self is one of the key tenets of meditation. The inward form of meditation calls for shutting out outside noise and looking within. It has been known to develop your understanding of yourself and your thought process.
Meditation also helps identify traits and habits that may be troublesome and direct them towards more constructive goals. A study showed that meditation improves self-belief and the ability to overcome challenges.
Today’s hyperactive world has reduced our attention spans. We look for new ways to engage ourselves minute-to-minute.
One of the advantages of meditation is an improved attention span. Focused attention meditation trains the mind to improve focus and lengthen our attention spans. By meditating, the mind's tendency to wander is reduced and we’re able to focus on specific tasks much better.
Many studies have shown that meditating results in completing a task with more focus and better accuracy. A different study also demonstrated that meditation reversed brain patterns that led to poor attention and worrying.
Our ability to remember may grow weak as we grow older. Mediation involving repeated chants and mantras with repetitive motion of the fingers has been shown to reduce age-related memory loss.
Older volunteers who meditated showed quicker mental recall, better attention and improved memory as compared to the control group.
Meditation can also partially improve memory in dementia patients.
What else is an addiction but the inability of the mind to control its wants? Meditation can significantly improve your mental discipline, allowing you to better control your willpower. This can help immensely in limiting addictions and dependencies. Research has shown that meditation can help manage impulses and understand the psychological reasons behind one’s own cravings.
One particular study on alcohol use found that meditation resulted in lower levels of stress which in turn led to lower cravings and use of alcohol.
One of the best physical benefits of meditation is reduced blood pressure. Increased blood pressure puts more strain on the heart and the walls of blood vessels. The resulting atherosclerosis or narrowing of arteries can cause heart attacks and strokes. Meditation has been shown to reduce blood pressure, especially in older individuals who had high blood pressure.
Meditation was shown to relax nerve signals that control blood pressure and blood vessel tension.
As is evident from the above, mediation is an excellent practice that can improve one’s mind and body. If you’re looking for the best meditation centres near you, Download the FITPASS App and start your meditation journey. You can also tune into FITPASS-TV for real-time video sessions with certified meditation experts from the comfort of your home.