For centuries, around the world meditation has been used as an effective technique to work with our minds, which also provides relaxation. Long before the advent of science and modern medicine, the Himalayan monks had already discovered the tremendous advantages of meditation. They dedicated much of their time cultivating stillness and decluttering their minds.
Today’s stressful lifestyles have prompted numerous people to commence meditation for health reasons, beyond its original spiritual purpose. It is useful to understand what is meditation and its benefits. A myriad of research studies have been conducted linking meditation and health. Other studies have aided researchers to understand how exactly meditation works, and its effect on the brain.
Top 6 Health Benefits of Meditation
- Managing anxiety and depression
Several studies suggest that mindfulness meditation can benefit individuals with anxiety and depression issues. One literature review done in 2014 included around 3,515 participants and involved 47 trials. The review indicated that meditation was a useful tool that helped to improve symptoms of anxiety and depression. Chogyal Rinpoche, a spiritual leader and meditation expert, explains how meditation gradually calms the mind and prevents strong emotions from erupting. So rather that wallow in depression and stress, meditators learn to calm their minds to achieve tranquility.
- Increasing immunity
One study conducted in the Ohio State University showed that regular muscle relaxation exercises lowered the risk of recurring breast cancer. A different study conducted on the elderly patients of Ohio State concluded that meditation and relaxation exercise done over the period of one month helped to boost lymphocytes or natural killer cells that improve the immune system. Consequently, they gained better resistance to viruses and tumors.
- Lowering blood pressure
People who practice meditation for health also have the added advantage of reducing their skyrocketing blood pressure. According to a report by the British Medical Journal, those patients who practiced meditation-based exercises had considerably lower blood pressure. Experts believe that meditation reduces the body’s responsiveness to cortisol and other stress hormones, similar to how blood pressure reducing medications work. It’s one of the amazing advantages of meditation.
- Reviving emotional wellness
Some people are haunted by a tortured or traumatized past. They suffer from unhealthy emotional states that are hard to understand. Luckily, meditation helps to revive emotional balance by gradually cleansing the consciousness of hidden emotionally charged memories. As a result, patients who meditate end up experiencing more freedom and a greater sense of balance. The link between meditation and health has never been more apparent.
- Relieving symptoms of IBS
Irritable Bowel Syndrome, more popularly known as IBS, is a common bowel disorder characterized by bloating, abdominal pain, cramps and altered bowel behavior. Interestingly, around 15% of the world’s population suffers from IBS – including about 25 to 45 million Americans living in the U.S. Its exact cause isn’t understood. Daily relaxing meditation has been found to relieve symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The State University of New York researchers strongly recommended daily meditation in the management of IBS after a series of successful studies.
- Improving happiness and general wellbeing
According to Maria Camara PhD, a psychotherapist who is also an advanced meditation teacher, meditation helps us to connect to our true qualities. We develop a loving capacity once we accept who we are and learn to work with our thoughts directly. Therefore, it’s not surprising that mindfulness increases happiness, enhances clarity and gives us peace of mind.
If you desire to enjoy these wholesome health benefits of meditation, now’s the best time to start. If you want some help, the Mindworks: Guided Meditation App comes highly recommended. The app can be downloaded on your smartphone. It contains a variety of inspirational Mind Talks from world renowned meditation practitioners.