You’ve probably heard about how meditation is good for you in mind, body, and soul. You’ve probably noticed how more and more people are starting to practice it. And while it may look tranquil and relaxing when you watch other people do it, you have to wonder if it really does everything that people say it does.
In recent years scientists have started studying the effects of meditation on the human body and they’ve found some remarkable things. They found, in fact, that meditation is able to reduce anxiety and depression and also reduce blood pressure and inflammation in the body. Those who use meditation for spiritual means have also reported that it helps them on their journey.
What exactly is meditation?
There are actually many kinds of meditation but the most commonly associated one is mindfulness meditation. Essentially this involves sitting down or lying somewhere comfortably, closing your eyes, and observing your thoughts. You slow down most of the processes in your body by simply breathing deeply. Then you start to acknowledge what your senses are doing: how the chair feels, what the room smells like, and the humming in the background. Then comes the most difficult part – identifying your thoughts. Mindfulness meditation is about observing these thoughts without judgment or trying to alter them, simply understanding them and acknowledging them.
Identifying negative emotions is a very important process toward rectifying them. This is specifically true with anxiety. Often you don’t know what you are anxious about until you take the time to quiet your mind and see which thoughts creep into your head first. By observing these thoughts, you begin to regain control over them so that they no longer appear unexpectedly or cause physical effects.
Meditation helps to mitigate the effects of depression too. Depression centers around feelings of guilt or shame. Being able to understand these feelings while being mindful and objectively contextualizing them as products of depression helps immensely with coping. The same could be said for conditions like obsessive-compulsive disorder.
The calming effects of meditation slow down the heart rate and cause a reduction in blood pressure. Over time, it also causes levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, to decrease. This further improves blood pressure and helps to strengthen the immune system. This entire process tends to slow down aging effects in our body and leaves the circulatory system, brain, and skin looking and feeling healthier.
Scientists also found that meditation helps to relieve muscle tension and aches, especially in the back, shoulders, and neck. The relaxation is also able to help people to sleep better, which is just better for overall health.
People who use meditation for spiritual reasons use the time when their mind is quieter to focus on and contemplate the meaning of life in their spiritual context. This, of course, helps them to work through the complex questions and feel more enlightened. For those who aren’t spiritual, a similar technique can be used to be mindful of your life’s purpose. Whatever you use it for, meditation can help to bring feelings of serenity and fulfillment in your life.
There are many benefits of meditation. It can help you whether you are young or old, rich or poor, it doesn’t matter. There are even apps to help you get started. Give meditation a try, and see what it does for you.