Stress reduction is probably the most obvious reason people try meditation! In one study involving over 3,500 people showed a significant reduction in the harmful effects of stress, giving the participants deeper sleep lowered blood pressure and clearer thinking.
Helps Control Pain
Pain — whether physical or mental — is all in the mind. The mind is the master control board for our perceptions and thought process. When you’re stressed or upset, pain becomes more heightened.
When the mind is calm, pain isn’t able to make the same waves.
Over time, meditation helps reduce anxiety-related mental health issues like social anxiety, phobias, and obsessive-compulsive behaviors.
Obviously, this can take longer for some people, but meditation greatly helps to bring the mind to a calmer place.
Can Decrease Blood Pressure
A calmer mind also lowers blood pressure.
Over time, high blood pressure makes the heart work harder to pump blood, which can lead to poor heart function. This can lead to heart attacks — the number 1 killer in the US.
Meditation controls blood pressure by relaxing the nerve signals that coordinate heart function, tension in blood vessels and the “fight-or-flight” response that increases alertness in stressful situations.
Promotes Emotional Health
With a calmer mind comes more rational decisions. These invariably bring greater happiness and better outcomes for our relationships. So it’s not only great for them, it’s great for you too!
Some forms of meditation can improve depression and create a more positive outlook on life.
A balanced mind helps you develop a better understanding of yourself. For example, self-inquiry meditation explicitly aims to help you develop a greater understanding of yourself and how you relate to those around you.
But even basic meditation techniques bring you into a deeper understanding of what makes you tick.
Increases Attention Span
I know this from experience: the more you meditate, the more your attention span increases. It’s like training yourself to run mental marathons!
It may seem strange but once you get that habit going on, you’ll notice a change.
Reduces Age-Related Memory Loss
Because meditation strengthens the attention span, by default it also strengthens memory.
A review of 12 studies found that multiple meditation styles increased attention, memory and mental quickness in older volunteers — even those with dementia.
Helps Fight Addictions
Meditation is a powerful tool for strengthening will power.
One study conducted taught 19 recovering alcoholics how to meditate and found that participants who received the training got better at controlling their cravings and craving-related stress.
Research has shown that meditation may help people learn to redirect their attention, increase their willpower, control their emotions and impulses and increase their understanding of the causes behind their addictive behaviors.
I struggle with sleeping quite a bit myself and have found meditation to be of great help.
In essence, it’s about controlling the thoughts: if they run away without end, sleep will be hard. But since meditation revolves around controlling the thoughts and quieting the mind, it makes sleep much easier. It also helps to relax the body.
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