Meditation is a practice that has been around for thousands of years and has been found in many different cultures. It involves training your mind to focus on the present moment to try and eliminate or redirect your stream of thoughts.
Meditation has been found to improve emotional and physical well being in those who practice and the popularity of meditation has sky-rocketed in recent years. Below are some of the benefits of meditation & how this practice can hugely benefit your everyday life.
Stress management is one of the most common reasons people embark on their meditation journey. It is a great tool for individuals who want to try and manage their stress in a more natural way, rather than turning to stronger prescription medications. The act of focusing on the present moment and eliminating a stream of jumbled thoughts can effectively calm a busy mind, especially in someone who is experiencing stress. Studies and reviews have also concluded that meditation is effective in reducing stress and even helps to manage stress-related conditions such as PTSD.
The practice of meditation can help you develop a stronger sense of self and focus on your own personal growth. Many people who practice meditation report experiencing greater self awareness and better emotional health. By becoming more aware of your thoughts and your stream of consciousness, you can identify negative thought processes and try to redirect them to a positive cognition. Studies have also found that using meditation based apps can help improve social contact, reduce loneliness and even enhance problem solving skills in participants.
In a similar way to how meditation effectively reduces stress levels, it can also reduce feelings of anxiety and panic. Studies have found that practicing meditation can help lessen anxiety, even if those with more severe symptoms of anxiety disorders. Further research found that it can also be effective in reducing job related stress for those who work in high-pressure environments.
Attention span and concentration is something that a lot of people struggle with in modern life but meditation is a tool that can help. One study found that only a few weeks of meditation led to a significant increase in attention and memory as measured through a verbal reasoning task. Further research found that practicing meditation can both lengthen and strengthen attention span in individuals, so if you struggle with concentration this is definitely something to consider.
The practice of reducing or redirecting a busy thought process is key in helping to improve sleep, as a busy mind is often what interrupts or prevents sleep. Again, it is a more natural and affordable approach to improving sleep compared to medications or expensive sleep products.
As well as redirecting thoughts, meditation can help your body physically relax and unwind in preparation for sleep. Studies have found that mindful-meditation programs help people sleep longer and reduces insomnia symptoms, compared to a control group who did not meditate.
The phrase ‘mind over matter’ is relevant when considering how the mind and pain are related. Stress and a negative state of mind can be associated with elevated levels of pain, in those who experience it.
Studies have found that meditation can be useful in treating individuals living with chronic pain and a larger scale study also found meditation helped to significantly decrease pain levels reported in participants.
Meditation is thought to help improve cognition, memory and brain preservation in those who are older. One study found that participants who meditated long-term had better preserved brains when compared to those who did not practice. It has also been found to improve age-related memory loss in controlled studies, making it a great go-to tool for older individuals looking to maintain healthy memory and brain function.
One of the best things about meditation as a practice is that it is completely portable, meaning you are free to practice anywhere. If you prefer to use meditation tools such as apps or guided meditation audio files, you can usually access these via your phone whenever and wherever you need them.
This is perfect for anyone using meditation to manage stress and anxiety, particularly social anxiety or other conditions which may be exacerbated when in public. Having the tool of meditation available in any situation can offer peace of mind and a sense of security for those who suffer from mental health conditions.
Those are just a few benefits of meditation but there are so many more, hence why the practice has become so popular for managing everyday stress and chronic conditions. The positive impact meditation can have on emotional and physical well being is incredible and we would urge anyone who hasn’t tried it yet to give it a go and see how much of a difference it can make.
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