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Have You Ever Tried Meditation? | The Benefits Of Meditation

Have You Ever Tried Meditation? | The Benefits Of Meditation

Life can be stressful, it can be exhausting, draining, and overwhelming. Meditation was developed as a way to combat this. Taking a small part of your day aside and using it to refocus, recover, and reframe the narrative. In this article, we will be talking about some of the main benefits of meditation.

Five Benefits of Meditation

There are many benefits to learning how to meditate, but in this article, we will be focusing on five of the main ones.

Benefit #1 Meditation Can Protect the Heart

High blood pressure is a serious condition, and it can lead to heart failure, kidney failure, heart attacks, and strokes. There are different causes of high blood pressure, but many of them are lifestyle based. Bad sleep, bad diet, a lack of exercise, and a stressful lifestyle.

Now, it should be made clear that anxiety or stress does not directly cause high blood pressure. Well it does, but only temporarily. But combined with the lifestyle factors mentioned above, high-stress lifestyles can exacerbate the problem.

Meditation has been shown to markedly reduce blood pressure, which can help to protect the heart long term. Many of the remaining benefits on this list also help to reduce the risk of heart disease, so keep that in mind as you read the rest.

Benefit #2 Meditation Can Reduce Pain

The use of meditation to manage pain is perhaps not surprising. Closing your eyes, deep breathing, and focusing on other things are all established methods for the management of short term pain such as stubbing your toe.

But scientists are increasingly looking at the benefits of meditating to help manage long term chronic pain. A 2017 study by Hilton et al found that there was a small decrease in pain when people meditated compared to the control.

This means that daily meditation may help with long term injury or illness, though don’t expect miracle results! A slight reduction in pain seems to be the best you can hope for, though when you are in pain, a small reduction is always welcome.

Benefit #3 Meditation Can Help Treat Insomnia

Insomnia is something that affects up to 20% of all adults and can massively affect quality of life and health. But too often it is not taken seriously. As we mentioned in benefit #1, bad sleeping habits (or insomnia) can increase blood pressure and can lead to heart disease.

Bad sleep can also lead to increased appetite, reduced metabolism, and the seeking out of high calorie snacks. Which can over time lead to weight gain, obesity, and all of the risk factors that are associated with it.

Good sleep is crucial for good health.

Luckily, there is increasing evidence that meditation is an effective treatment for insomnia. As always, it should be combined with other effective tools (reduction of caffeine, avoidance of blue lights before bed etc) if you want the best results.

A 2014 study by Ong et al found that meditation before bed led to an improvement in sleep duration and quality in chronic insomnia sufferers.

Benefit #4 Meditation May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

Research into the effects of meditation on the brain is in its infancy, so it is not possible to say how exactly meditation can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. But there is certainly evidence for that being the case.

A 2015 study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease says this about meditation:

“KK enhances memory and reduces AD risk by improving sleep, decreasing depression, increasing well-being, down regulating inflammatory genes, upregulating immune system genes, improving insulin and glucose metabolism, and increasing telomerase by 43%.”

Notes on the above quote:

  • KK stands for Kirtan Kriya, a form of meditation from the Kundalini yoga tradition.
  • AD stands for Alzheimer’s Disease (as you’d probably already guessed)
  • Telomerase restores shortened bits of DNA and is thought by many to have anti-aging properties

Not only does meditation appear to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, but it may also improve cognition and memory skills in the present.

Benefit #5 Meditation Can Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Meditation may not be able to remove the causes of stress and anxiety from your life, but it can help you deal with them. Meditation may also reduce the time spent being stressed or anxious as it teaches you how to deal with them.

Studies have consistently shown that meditation can help to reduce psychological stress and can help people deal with anxiety disorder.

This last benefit probably does not come as much of a surprise to you, this is what meditation is most famous for. But at least we now know that it is a scientifically proven method.

Final Thoughts

Meditation is an incredibly useful tool, and it should definitely be part of your daily routine. The physical and mental benefits of meditation will help you in the present and in the future.

Most meditation techniques only take a few minutes out of your day, and by improving your sleep quality and giving you more energy they can actually increase your daily productiveness. It could be argued that 12 minutes of meditation gives you an extra hour of activity each day.

Combining meditation with yoga and breathing techniques is another great use of your time. Yoga and meditation are massively linked, as are breathing techniques. One or two yoga classes a week could really help you to improve your meditation techniques, and will go a long way to reducing stress and anxiety.

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