What are the benefits of mindfulness and meditation?
“The brain is capable of being trained and physically modified in ways that few people can possibly imagine.” Inside Meditation
We’ve got to a point where science is able to prove what long term meditators have known for centuries — that the benefits of mindfuness and meditation are incredibly good for you. So, just taking as little as five to 10 minutes out of your daily routine to do nothing but focus on your breath or observe your thoughts can have profound impacts on your health, well-being and long term happiness.
10 benefits of mindfulness meditation
It has now been scientifically proven that practising meditation regularly can reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Reducing stress levels is often vital for the prevention and recovery of many diseases and illnesses which is why if you scour the web for meditation health benefits, you’ll be bombarded with information claiming the meditation can help cancer patients recover faster, increase fertility rates, reduce inflammation…
While this may be true, it should be looked at objectively and meditation alone should never be used to cure a serious illness that requires medical treatment. It has been proven, however, that meditation does reduce your cortisol levels.
Lower blood pressure
Several studies have shown that regular meditation practise is effective for balancing high blood pressure. If you do have high blood pressure, many people often see meditation as a no brainer. You’ll see a massive improvement even if you practise for only five minutes a day.
It has often been said that having good self-compassion is vital to preventing depression or overcoming depression. Studies have shown that the areas in the brain responsible for developing self-compassion and compassion for others, become more developed when you practise meditation regularly.
There is now solid evidence that suggests that mindfulness meditation really does help to combat anxiety and help worriers to calm their thoughts. Meditation works by increasing activity in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (an area at the front of your brain) which is thought to be responsible for triggering anxiety.
Empathy and understanding
Increase your sense of empathy
Studies have shown that when people meditate, the areas of the brain responsible for processing empathy become highly active.
Balance and awareness
Think more objectively
The buzz of mobile phones, computer monitors and sounds of the city 24 hours a day can mean that many of us rarely switch off or take even five minutes out to do nothing. Mindful meditation and taking time out to observe your thought patterns, will help you to view your thoughts and emotions objectively.
Stop thoughts and emotions getting the better of you
How many times have you let a jealous or angry thought consume you until it takes over and the problem is blown completely out of proportion? Meditation brings the balance back so you don’t end up being a slave to your thoughts and emotions.
Healing old wounds
Come to terms with unresolved issues
Meditation can also be used to heal old psychological wounds, unresolved issues and trauma; however, it would be best to see a trained therapist as well as practising meditation if this is the case.
Spirituality and meaning in life
Live a more meaningful life
If you’ve ever felt that there is more to life than we currently experience in day to day life – whether you believe in a God, life force, higher power… or not, meditation can help you experience different levels of consciousness, states of being and connectedness to the World around you.
Longevity and anti-ageing
Feel younger and more alive
Studies have shown that people who meditate regularly have increased amounts of an enzyme called telomerase in their white blood cells. Telomerase is basically an anti-ageing enzyme responsible for the health of the chromosomes and cells in your body.
It is thought that meditation gives people a greater sense of meaning and purpose in life which leads to a feeling of a greater sense of control and happiness which results in more of the anti-ageing enzyme, telomerase being produced.
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