For generations, people have been practicing meditation to improve both their physical and emotional wellbeing. Meditation benefits include so much more than just a few moments of Zen. As it turns out, practicing meditation benefits not just your emotional wellbeing but your physical health too.
People who meditate take a few moments each day to control their breaths, clear their mind and concentrate on their innermost thoughts. Though meditating may at first feel like fifteen minutes of sitting in quiet while your mind races in circles, in time you will learn to balance your breath with your mind and control those thoughts.
Do you meditate? Here’s why you may want to start.
12 Ways that Practicing Meditation Benefits Your Life
It makes you nicer.
People who want to feel less emotionally reactive and recover faster from upsetting emotions can see meditation benefits almost immediately by beginning with the intention of wanting to achieve mindfulness and becoming aware of negative habits. Meditation helps us push aside negative thoughts and emotional reactions, while encouraging less a self-centered and more pro-social response, such as compassion, empathy, or forgiveness.
I don’t know about you, but right now I’m thinking that we should make meditation mandatory starting in elementary school and beyond. Wouldn’t the world be a more peaceful place if we started as children? We sure could use a little more peace in the world.
It can help you solve problems.
Additionally, when you are in a meditative state where you are receptive to new thoughts and ideas, it may trigger new solutions to a particular problem. While many of us get set in our ways of thinking, practicing meditation can leave us open to looking at situations from a new perspective.
It thickens your brain (literally).
Think you don’t need a thicker brain? Think again. In our mid-to-late-20s our brains actually begin to lose volume and weight, and with that the brain can begin to lose some of its functional abilities.
Meditating regularly literally strengthens the bond between your brain cells over time, which allows it to process information faster than people who do not meditate. The longer someone has been meditating, the higher the degree of folding in the cortex area of the brain. Want to have a bigger brain? Commit to meditating for the long term.
It improves your attention and ability to focus.
Practicing meditation daily has been shown to improve our ability to prioritize and manage tasks and goals, stay alert, and concentrate on specific information. For those who are time-strapped, taking as little as a few minutes to meditate daily may improve attention and focus, which is sure to pay off in the long run.
It’s not just for grown-ups, either. Meditation benefits students who have trouble paying attention or focusing too. Like I said earlier, it certainly seems to me that we should teach meditation beginning in elementary school, so our minds could always be open to the world around us.
It slows the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Changes in the brain associated with meditation may slow the progression of age-related cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. There’s actually a strong association between stress and Alzheimer’s disease. Meditation benefits include stress reduction, so it makes sense that practicing meditation might improve cognitive function.
It can make you more creative.
When an individual is open to all the thoughts and sensations around him or her, it allows the flow of new possibilities. People who begin to meditate regularly are able to generate more new ideas.
It controls blood pressure.
Meditation reduces stress, and stress can be a cause for high blood pressure. So don’t be too surprised if your doctor suggests practicing meditation to reduce your blood pressure. It is known to be an effective treatment, and may even help you to avoid medication.
It may reduce incontinence.
Want a stronger bladder? You’re not alone. Incontinence can be quite and embarrassing condition, but studies show that cognitive therapies such as practicing meditation can help to manage an overactive bladder.
It helps you cope with pain better.
People who meditate regularly find pain to be less unpleasant than people who don’t meditate. By practicing meditation, their brains begin to anticipate the pain less, reducing it’s emotional impact. Pretty neat, right?
It reduces inflammation.
Believe it or not, practicing meditation can reduce inflammation in the body, and inflammation is the source of many illnesses and diseases. People who already suffer from chronic inflammatory conditions like asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, may want to take up a regular meditation practice to calm both mind and body.
It improves migraines and stress-induced headaches.
Stress is a well-known trigger for headaches. Yet research shows that meditation benefits individuals who get migraines and stress-induced headaches, not only by experiencing fewer migraines but also also migraines that are less severe in duration and intensity.
It gives you a better night’s rest.
Can’t sleep? Meditation may help. Research has shown that meditation benefits insomnia sufferers by improving both sleep quality and sleep duration.
Are you ready to give it a try? Sit down, take a deep breath, and let meditation begin to improve your life!
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