Time and time again, we see how modern science finally begins to understand the health benefits of practices that have been around for decades. Scientists of the modern world are no doubt extremely smart and knowledgeable, but our ancestors knew a thing or two as well.
In an age where we demand scientific evidence for anything related to health (as we should), it’s good to see that modern medicine has finally caught up to the benefits of meditation. There have been hundreds of studies conducted to understand the physiological and psychological effects of meditation and most of them have shown that it provides several benefits, including deep relaxation, pain relief, mindfulness, and more. And the best part is that all of this comes with pretty much no side effects at all!
The brain has been found to shift with regular meditation. Mind-body therapies such as yoga and meditation help reduce markers of inflammation and promote virus-inhibiting immune responses in the body. These, furthermore, help reduce symptoms of ailments such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Such therapies have also proven to reduce stress, depression, insomnia, and other neurological disorders.
Yoga and meditation have become popular in recent times, but before you discount them as a “fad”, you should try them for yourself! Only those who have truly experienced it will understand the magic behind it. But that’s not to say it’s all just “magic”. In fact, here are 7 amazing health benefits of meditation that actually have a backing in science!
“Mindfulness” is a word used to describe the state of being conscious of the present moment. You let your thoughts pass through your mind without judging them as good or bad, or dwelling on them beyond that moment. When you achieve mindfulness, you release the pressure and stress held so tightly inside of you, ridding yourself of thoughts that plague your everyday routine. By becoming mindful, you let your heart take the driver’s seat without letting your brain interfere.
This can be achieved through meditation, guided visualization, yoga, repetitive prayer, and mantras. These are just some forms of deep relaxation that can help you reach a state of mindfulness. Although it can be a great stress reliever, it is much more than that. Relaxation is a channel through which all other systems in your body react.
It is a well-known fact that chronic inflammation of the body can lead to serious diseases like cancer, arthritis, asthma, diabetes, psoriasis, neurodegenerative disease, and cardiovascular diseases. Stress, which is a problem of the mind that can show its effect on the body, is one cause of such inflammation. Thankfully, deep relaxation, which can be reached through mind-body therapies like yoga and meditation, has been found to reduce stress-related inflammation. So, if you have been facing a lot of stress in your life, it’s worth it to take up meditation!
As we discussed earlier, mindfulness means not dwelling on thoughts but simply letting them flow on by like a river through your consciousness. Therefore, when a negative thought pops in, instead of obsessing over it and analyzing it, you can recognize it and let it drift away. Practicing mindfulness as a regular habit can help you become calmer as you do not dwell on negative thoughts or emotions while also not suppressing them. This helps you reach a state of calmness and serenity.
Since we are more aware of our consciousness during meditation, this allows us to let go of negative emotions such as ego, anger, jealousy, and etc. Recognizing such emotions exist within you makes it possible for you to get rid of them and gives you a greater ability to handle them in a healthier manner. Instead of bottling them all away and just waiting for the proverbial lid to burst, you keep emptying the bottle regularly so that it never fills up too much.
Anyone who has faced issues with fertility is well aware that stress is one of the things that hinder the natural process of reproduction. Stress can affect your stress drive and impact your sexual performance. It can even put you in a negative mind space, which further hinders your ability to reproduce. And this goes for both men and women! As such, reducing stress has been proven to improve fertility in both genders. Since meditation can help reduce stress, it’s certainly something you can try. If you can get your partner to do it with you, it can be a bonding exercise as well!
It’s not just your mind that achieves relaxation and calmness; your muscles follow suit as well! Daily progressive relaxation of the muscles can provide a plethora of health benefits by improving your immune system – thereby ensuring you do not fall sick as often.
Relaxation can also be a way to prevent cancers! In fact, it has been proven to reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence, help the immune system resist tumors and viruses, and even fight anxiety and depression that may arise from chemotherapy.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Several studies have shown that meditation can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. This is because mediation helps release stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. During the times of our cavemen ancestors, adrenaline was key in keeping them poised to either flee or fight if a predator were to attack them. In today’s world, all the monsters are generally inside our heads.
Relieves Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
IBS is a painful and annoying condition that can throw a wrench into the lives of many people. Some people who suffer from it may not even know they have it, instead attributing its various symptoms to something or the other. Apart from making changes to your diet and lifestyle, you can also take up meditation to help combat the effects of IBS. After all, this is a disease that is known to be exacerbated by high levels of stress.