13 Mar How Meditation Can Improve Your Health
Have you tried meditating? For some, meditation is as much a part of their life as waking up in the morning, but for others it’s a vague and difficult activity that’s more frustrating than relaxing.
No matter where you’re at in your personal health journey, we’re firm believers that meditation can have tangible, physical benefits in your mind and body.
If you’re ready to give it a try (or to try again!), we hope you’ll check out some of these benefits that meditation can offer you.
Fundamentally, meditation helps your body by reducing the effects of stress.
A high stress lifestyle constantly keeps your body in a state of alertness and tension, because your body interprets your anxiety as the presence of a physical threat. So it keeps your heart rate up, your lungs pumping, and stress hormones flowing through your body to prepare you for the physical attack it thinks is incoming.
Obviously, most of us aren’t physically attacked in our daily life, so this stress response is counterproductive. Meditation can help your body calm down, decreasing the stress hormones in your body and reducing the long-term effects of constant anxiety.
Relaxation from meditation can help decrease your blood pressure, improve your heart and breathing rate, and quiet your brain waves. Tension and tightness in your muscles release, and your body can physically unclench itself from the stress state.
People who meditated in an MRI machine had increases of activity in brain areas associated with the metabolism and heart rate.
Benefits to the mind
It’s not just your body that benefits from meditation. Studies performed on Buddhist monks, who practice meditation for hours and hours every day, have found that these men have increased brain activity in areas associated with memory, learning, conscious perception, and focus.
Conscious, daily repetition of positive mantras and affirmations center you, draw attention to your own breathing, and free you to relax your mind and body. Long term, the effects of daily meditation spread out into your entire day if practiced regularly.
Aside from that, the ability to self-soothe can calm yourself down is a useful skill to have in situations where you feel angry or upset. Breathing calmly and centering your thoughts can improve your emotional regulation and interpersonal conflict resolution skills.
Repeated calm, positive affirmations are more than just soothing; they can actually change the way you think of yourself. Positive thinking and self-love promote a higher sense of self-esteem and confidence that enables you to succeed in all aspects of your life. If you regularly practice meditation and focus on loving and liking yourself, you will see an improvement in your own self-image over time.
You don’t have to be a Buddhist monk or even spiritual at all to meditate. Simply focusing on a few positive mantras, breathing intentionally, and sitting still with a quiet mind is enough to bring you a sense of positive well being. Give it a try!