The relationship between meditation and health is an intricate one, as pointed out by numerous studies and wellness experts. Frequent meditation brings numerous benefits in its wake. But how does meditation improve mental health? Studies show that it can help in managing anger, anxiety, stress and blood pressure along with greatly enhancing concentration simultaneously. On that note, here’s taking a look at these benefits in a little more detail.
Meditation Biggest Benefits For Mental Health
Enhanced Concentration & Focus-
One of the biggest benefits of meditation as you will realize is the way it helps you focus and concentrate on what you need to do at present. A study in 2011 at the Harvard Medical School reportedly discovered how meditation had a direct contribution towards improving memory, learning and emotional control. In fact, Carnegie Mellon University researchers found in 2016 that meditation also contributes to better decision-making.
Why psychologists often recommend meditation therapy is because of its calming effect on the brain, teaching us to tune into ourselves and eliminate all distractions. Automatically, once we get into the habit, we start seeing present goals and targets in a clearer manner, boosting our concentration greatly as a result.
Of course, meditation also contributes to bringing in that feel-good factor that we all crave at the end of the day! Meditation helps you take a deep breath, slow down from the hectic pace of daily life and create the right environment for introspection. In this manner, the more we find out about ourselves, we come to understand our positive traits and attributes in the long run. We also end up with a useful habit of analyzing our own feelings and triggers without being judgmental. This naturally enhances our self-esteem as per experts.
Combat Depression & Anxiety-
Meditation therapy is also recommended for those battling perennial anxiety or feelings of depression. Meditation is what helps clear out the clutter, training our minds to focus on our immediate circumstances. This means that people are less likely to keep thinking about their fears, depressive feelings or anxieties. Meditating regularly is a great antidote for lowering depression and its prevalent symptoms like sleep issues, poor mood and reduced appetite.
Keep Stress Away-
This point cannot be emphasized enough! Stress is an inextricable part of our daily lives, especially with burgeoning work and social commitments, family responsibilities, fatigue and other cogs in the wheel. All of these contribute towards feelings of being overwhelmed or what we call being stressed out! Meditation is what helps in reducing cortisol levels (in case you didn’t know, it is the name of the stress hormone), automatically helping you relax better. In fact, repeating positive chants while meditating can also have a soothing effect on your mind and your heart health, helping you filter away distractions.
Something called transcendental meditation has also gained ground in recent years, where people keep silently repeating any sound or word for staying focused. They achieve a state of total mental peace and stability as a result.
Enhances Feelings of Generosity-
Meditation may also go a long way towards accelerating positivity and bringing feelings of generosity or kindness towards other people and also yourself. Metta is one of these meditation types which commences with the development of kinder feelings and thoughts towards oneself. After all, once we start learning to love ourselves, we can then extend the same feelings to others, forgiving them for their flaws and learning how to combat feelings of jealousy or anxiety.
The more time people spend on meditation, the more they experience feelings of generosity and positivity as per several studies. One such interesting study clearly demonstrated how all participants choosing the Metta technique for meditation for about three times each week, experienced several benefits. They reported more positive emotions along with improved interactions at an interpersonal level, and of course, a superior understanding of other people after the study period. This clearly shows how meditating may actually make you a kinder or more generous individual!
A study by John Hopkins also examined the ties between meditation and anxiety, pain and depression as per a Forbes report by Alice G. Walton. It clearly found that meditation has positive effects which are almost at par with those created by antidepressants for instance! While such studies need future verification and logical foundations, what cannot be ignored is the way meditation trains our minds to boost awareness, logical thinking, and self-analysis. While it is no magic mantra or instant cure for depression or stress, regular practice can help immensely in a complete mental transformation.
We all need to heal, relax and compose ourselves amidst the humdrum of daily life. Meditation is certainly a great tool to foster these goals, while ultimately contributing towards enhanced productivity at the same time.
However, if meditation doesn’t help improve your mental & physical wellbeing, it’s time to visit a healthcare provider.