by Grace Im, O.M.D.
Meditation is a body and mind practice that helps us meet our goals of enhancing relaxation and increasing self-awareness. The practice of meditation usually requires sitting still and breathing in a controlled manner for extended periods of time.
When you meditate, you deliberately set aside unwanted thoughts to focus on the present moment. It is a way of bringing your body and mind to relaxation while focusing on their connection. In just five minutes a day, you can find relief from stress along with obtaining a number of other health benefits.
The main benefits of meditation is that it keep the mind and body in balanced state, which is essential to improving quality of life. The practice has been gaining popularity as a successful approach in regulating both physical and mental health. National Institute of Health (NHI) suggests that practicing meditation may reduce anxiety, depression, insomnia, blood pressure and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
“Some research suggests that meditation may physical change the brain and body and could potentially help to improve many health problems and promote health behaviors,” according to NHI.
Most of us face different levels of psychological distress in our lives, and that stress, anxiety, depression, or worry can be overwhelming at times. Chronic stress causes all sorts of problems including higher blood pressure, decreased immunity, and impaired cognitive functions.
Meditation helps those who suffer from stress by teaching us how to cope with unwanted feelings and better manage symptoms of stress. Our tendency to ruminate can lead to depression, and regular meditation has been shown to significantly reduce depressive symptoms.
Meditation can also reduce symptoms of stress-triggered medical conditions.
Sleep deprivation is a root cause of many bodily symptoms. A variety of meditation techniques can help you relax and control the unwanted thoughts that may interfere with sleep. Meditation can trigger the relaxation response needed for a restful night of sleep.
It is possible to regulate your emotions through meditation for a greater sense of well-being. Individuals that practice mediation have more emotional awareness and acceptance to cope with difficult situations. Likewise, those who are prone to anger and sadness are able to better regulate their mood with continued practice of meditation. By focusing on the mind to remain calm, meditators are able to stay away from anxious thoughts.
While pain medication is sometimes necessary, many conventional medications comes with unwanted side effects. Meditation has been used to improve our ability to cope with pain. Some studies suggest that meditation’s ability to reduce pain may be due to its ability to activate certain area of the brain (NHIw). Meditating can be an excellent option for reducing chronic pain.
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Over time, with consistent meditation, individuals who are suffering from high blood pressure can regulate the stress on their heart and lower their blood pressure. Practicing meditation can help us learn to better cope with the psychological stress that can manifest into physical stressors, especially those affecting the heart.
Meditation helps you to remove the unnecessary or unwanted thoughts in the forefront of your mind. This will ultimately increase your focus and discipline. It also allows our brains greater capacity to tackle the main task at hand.
Meditation has been proven to reduce symptoms of IBS. Some studies according to NHI suggest that the severity of the IBS has decreased with individuals perform regular meditation. Meditation also helps with reducing flare-ups in people who struggle with ulcerative colitis.
Our minds produce constant stream of thoughts and worry. Meditation can increase the flow of positive thoughts and emotions running through our minds. As such, even a few mins a day spent meditating regularly can be life changing.
If starting meditation on your own is difficult, many people find it useful start with guided mediation apps that are easily accessible. Find the app that will fit your particular style and approach to meditation. Choose whatever forces you to focus your mind and let go of any negative thoughts. Remember, there are no right or wrong ways to meditate. Be patient with yourself by practicing self-compassion in the process of finding your best fit for meditation.
Once you start getting better sleep, reduce your pain, lower your blood pressure, and manage your stress, it will make you physically healthier. The benefits of meditation enhances mental, emotional, and physical state. Set aside 5-10 mins of your day to have a happier and healthier life!
The National Institute of Health, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. (2016). Meditation: In Depth. Retrieved from May 25, 2021, from https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/meditation-in-depth.The Dirty Dozen: