Benefits of Meditation

Meditation is gaining mainstream acceptance as a beneficial preventative health programme. It is one of the better-studied alternative therapies and has been shown to provide a wide range of health benefits.

Woman meditating

More and more doctors are recommending meditation as an effective stress buster and useful support for patients with many types of chronic and acute conditions.

The effectiveness of meditation comes from the fact that you can achieve a state of deep relaxation in just a few minutes. When you settle down into a state of deep relaxation, the body and mind are refreshed and revitalized. This gives you many good effects that are both immediate and long lasting.

 

Meditation and stress

Researchers have shown that meditation lowers levels of stress hormones.In particular, while meditating, your cortisol level drops and stays low for hours afterward. . Cortisol is one of the most important stress hormones. It is present in your blood in small amounts all the time, but when you experience stress, your body produces much more of it. High quantities of cortisol produces unhealthy and unpleasant effects. Getting it out of your blood stream, in contrast, has beneficial and positive effects.

MeditationThis reduction in stress hormones may be explained by the relaxed state that comes about through meditation. Electroencephalograph (EEG) studies of the brain in those who are meditating show that meditation boosts the intensity of alpha waves – associated with quiet, receptive states -- to levels not seen even during sleep (>Learn more about brain waves). This relaxed state combats anxiety, and this is confirmed by research which has found lowered levels of lactic acid in the blood. (High levels of lactic acid are associated with anxiety.) Another effect of meditation is that breathing slows, so the body uses less oxygen.

An interesting side note: A high level of cortisol makes your body store extra fat in your abdomen and makes you crave fattening foods with extra intensity. The Journal of the American Dietetic Association reported that stress in general is a "primary predictor of relapse and overeating." And they concluded that meditation is an effective method for managing the kind of stress that causes weight gain.

 

Meditation and psychological benefits

When you meditate, you allow mental activity to slow down in a natural way while your alertness is maintained and indeed enhanced. After meditating, you will feel mentally refreshed. You will feel calmer, more relaxed and have a greater sense of well-being. Benefits increase with regular practice.

Meditation OutsideMeditation leads to a feeling of being at ease with the world. Like many people who meditate, you may find that you have greater self-esteem, self-confidence and inner peace. You're able to concentrate more easily and and your ability to learn and remember improves.

Meditation helps you to feel less anxious about issues that previously caused you stress, and many benefits arise out of a calm state of mind. You become a better listener and exhibit greater empathy, which in turn leads to closer and more fulfilling relationships. Calmness brings with it the capacity for more accurate judgement and enhances problem-solving skills. Being calm results in having greater patience and tolerance and gives you the composure to act in considered and constructive ways.

A large body of research has demonstrated that meditation produces comprehensive improvements in mental health, enhancing positive features and reducing various forms of psychological distress. Some of this research is mentioned below.

Couple meditatingA systematic review of 144 studies found that meditation was markedly more effective in reducing anxiety than other techniques (Journal of Clinical Psychology) Meditation has also consistently been found to reduce depression, hostility, and emotional instability, indicating the growth of a more stable, balanced, and resilient personality.

In another statistical review of 42 independent research results, meditation was found to be effective in increasing self-actualization-an overall measure of positive mental health and personal development. Further analysis revealed that the technique is exceptionally effective in developing three independent components of this dimension: emotional maturity, a resilient sense of self, and a positive, integrated perspective on ourselves and the world (Journal of Social Behaviour and Personality)

An exhaustive survey conducted by the Swedish National Health Board found evidence that psychiatric hospital admissions may be much less common among people practising meditation than in the general population.

 

 

Please click on the links below to see how meditation benefits in a wide range of ways. If you don't see how meditation can help your individual needs then please do contact us without obligation and we'll be happy to advise you.


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