- 1 There are many benefits from taking time to meditate every day
- 2 Meditation reduces stress.
- 3 Meditation can improve focus.
- 4 Meditation can aid sleep.
- 5 Meditation can reduce blood pressure.
- 6 Meditation can help with addiction.
- 7 Meditation improves relationships.
- 8 Meditation helps you make better decisions.
- 9 Meditation creates compassion for others and self.
- 10 Meditation supports self-awareness.
- 11 Mindfulness meditation increases grey matter
- 12 Conclusion
There are many benefits from taking time to meditate every day
Meditation is a simple and effective way to reduce stress. You can meditate anywhere, and any time. Meditation isn’t a religion, but it can be spiritual.
You might have heard the phrase “create a gap between your thoughts”. That’s what meditation helps us do. We live in our heads so much, with constant thinking that often causes us stress because we believe our thoughts are real and important. Meditation helps us see that they’re not as important as we thought they were!
Meditation reduces stress.
Everything from the morning traffic jam to your stressful office meeting can make you feel upset, anxious and angry. Meditation helps you control your thoughts so that you don’t let these events control your life.
Meditation helps to reduce the activity of the ‘fight or flight’ part of the nervous system, which is activated during stress. This means that while still remaining alert, meditators are able to put stressful situations into perspective. As a result they’re more able to deal with them calmly and rationally.
It’s also been shown that meditation stimulates the production of serotonin, known as “the happiness hormone”. So no matter what life throws at you, meditating regularly can help keep you calm and positive all day long.
Meditation can improve focus.
One of the benefits of meditation is that it helps you become more aware and focused on the present moment. When you meditate, you are training your mind to focus on one particular thing, such as your breathing or an object in front of you. This allows your brain to get better at focusing and staying focused. Through consistent practice, this ability will start to come more naturally and easily into your everyday life.
You can use meditation as a way to quickly regain focus when your mind starts wandering during work or other tasks. Simply sit down for a few minutes in silence and let all thoughts go, focusing only on the present moment and clearing your head of any distractions. By doing this a few times a day, you’ll find yourself being able to stay focused longer without getting distracted by every little thing around you!
Meditation can aid sleep.
If you tend to stay up late worrying about your sleep, you may be glad to hear that a few minutes of daily meditation can help you sleep better and wake up feeling refreshed and invigorated. There are many ways meditation can impact the quality of your sleep:
- Meditation has been shown to help people fall asleep faster.
- It also helps people stay asleep for longer stretches.
- The quality of the sleep is improved as well. In one study, participants slept more deeply after an eight week course in mindfulness training.
- People who meditate regularly tend not to wake up several times during the night.
- Many people find that if they meditate before bedtime, they are less likely to fear falling asleep or experience anxiety about not being able to fall asleep at all.
Meditation can reduce blood pressure.
Meditation can lower blood pressure by reducing stress and anxiety.
We all know that during stressful times, our blood pressure increases. Meditation helps us to reduce stress and anxiety, which in turn reduces our blood pressure. In a study conducted by Yale University researcher Dr. David Katz, people with high blood pressure were taught to meditate for 12 weeks. After the 12 weeks, their diastolic (the bottom number of a blood pressure reading) decreased by 5 points on average. This is equivalent to using two popular drugs such as atenolol or propranolol (medications used to treat high blood pressure).
In addition, another study conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital found that patients who began a regular meditation practice had lower levels of inflammatory markers known as C-reactive proteins (CRP), which are an indicator of heart attack risk because it’s linked with higher rates of plaque buildups in arteries around the heart. Participants who meditated for at least 30 minutes a day for an eight week period showed significantly reduced CRP levels when compared to the non-meditating control group from the same study.
Meditation can help with addiction.
Meditation is an effective tool in breaking addictions of any kind. The process of meditation, when practised regularly and consistently, will help you to develop a stronger sense of self control as you learn to control your attention, thoughts and emotions without the need for an external substance or behaviour.
A number of studies have demonstrated that meditation can help with addictions. One study, published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology found that after a 3-month treatment program combining traditional rational recovery therapy with mindfulness meditation training, there were significant improvements in addicted individuals’ ability to control their cravings when exposed to alcohol related stimuli. A more recent study has suggested that mindfulness meditation may be particularly helpful for those suffering from depression who are also struggling with addiction.
In addition to helping with specific addictions, regular practice of meditation can help you to become more aware of negative patterns in your thinking and behaviour that may ultimately lead you down the path towards addiction again if they are not addressed. This can help you notice these patterns before they get out of hand and give you the tools you need to deal with them early on.
Meditation improves relationships.
Meditation is one of the first things to go when life gets busy, or so it often seems. But when you meditate, you are better equipped to handle all of the tasks and activities on your plate. You’ll feel more clear, calm and at peace in your day-to-day life, which will also help you be a better parent, friend, partner and/or employee. This benefit is not just about being nicer to others (though that’s part of it), but also about how your relationships can deepen as a result of this practice. It’s a win-win for everyone!
Meditation helps you make better decisions.
Mindfulness meditation will help you make better decisions.
When we are stressed out, our brains are in a “fight or flight” mode, which is essential when you’re trying to avoid being eaten by a lion. But when you’re trying to solve a problem that’s causing you stress, this mode won’t help much. It will only keep your mind focused on the problem at hand, and not on possible solutions. By meditating even for just 10 minutes a day, you can train your brain to stay centered in stressful situations. You can clear your mind and shut off the inner dialogue that keeps telling you that there is no way out of your current situation. This centers yourself and allows clearer decision-making, as well as improved emotional intelligence (the ability to understand people’s emotions).
Meditation creates compassion for others and self.
Studies have shown that meditation can help you become more compassionate. Compassion isn’t empathy, which is the ability to actually feel what someone else feels (though there is certainly some overlap between compassion and empathy). Compassion is the ability to identify with others’ pain, recognize it as suffering, and take action to alleviate it. It’s being able to feel concern for another person and understand their struggle.
Compassion can be a learned skill! Meditation, as a practice of deep self-awareness, gives you an opportunity to view your own thoughts with a non-judgmental attitude. This allows you to become more aware of how your mind works in times of stress or hardship. You may also find yourself growing in emotional intelligence – becoming more likely to respond thoughtfully instead of reacting impulsively (and not having so many regrets about the things you said). Having compassion for yourself leads naturally into having compassion for others; when you are compassionate you are less likely to be judgmental because you understand how suffering arises from ignorance (of ourselves and others).
Meditation supports self-awareness.
Meditation supports self-awareness. When you are able to observe your thoughts, you become aware of your patterns and habits. This creates space between yourself and your thoughts and allows you to identify whether they are serving or sabotaging you.
The process of observing your thoughts also gives you access to the observer within. As this happens, you will notice that it’s not just your thoughts that are constantly changing but everything around you as well (relationships, possessions, etc.). The only thing that remains is the observer-you.
As meditation practice continues over time, more of the observer becomes accessible in daily life. You become more in tune with the needs and patterns of your body and mind, allowing for better decision making when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle.*
Mindfulness meditation increases grey matter
A 2012 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that people who meditate have more grey matter in their brains. Grey matter is located in regions of the brain that are associated with memory, emotions, speech, decision making, self-control, and other important functions.
The research compared 20 meditators with people who had no experience practising meditation. The results showed that long-term meditators had higher amounts of grey matter in brain areas related to learning and memory processes, regulating emotions and sensory processing. Meditators also had more grey matter in the frontal cortex, an area associated with working memory and executive decision making.
People who practice mindfulness meditation also have more grey matter in areas related to self awareness, compassion and introspection as well as less age related loss of grey matter than people who don’t meditate.
As a brief recap, there are many important benefits to meditating. It’s an effective way to reduce stress and it helps us take control of our thoughts. Meditation can also be rewarding emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically. And even more than that, meditation can be fun! I think that almost anyone can benefit from meditating, and I strongly encourage you to try it yourself.