Updated: Feb 23
1. Reduces Stress-
All of us experience times of ups and downs, which tend to be compounded by the demands of modern living. Stress has become the norm rather than the exception for many of us, and its long-term effects can be detrimental to our physical and mental health. Finding ways to manage stress more effectively is important in order to avoid becoming overly anxious, depressed, or contracting a physical ailment.
Meditation has been shown to hold significant potential in helping to reduce stress and increase a person’s sense of equanimity and well-being. Meditating on a regular basis can be advantageous for beginners and long-term practitioners alike. Regular practice is important, however, to maximize the benefits.
Anyone can meditate. Pick a spot where you can be undisturbed for a predetermined amount of time and turn off your phone. If you have never meditated, start with just 10 minutes a day; later, you can gradually increase your time to 20 or 30 minutes, if you like. Consistency is key, so try to find a time that will work for you every day.
Many people like to start off the day by meditating. As meditation tends to have a grounding effect and helps to calm the mind, it can set the tone for the whole day when practiced first thing in the morning. If the evening works better, however, this can be a great way to unwind after a long day at work.
2. Controls Anxiety-
Numerous studies have revealed the unique benefits of meditation techniques, including their ability to reduce signs of stress and anxiety.
Even though there is limited evidence-based support for meditation as a first-line treatment for anxiety disorders, research does suggest that this practice may be effective as a supplemental therapy.
A research showed that people who practice meditation for a long time start showing changes in the areas of their brain that modulate the stress and anxiety response.
But research also shows that long-term practice is not needed to experience these brain changes. For example, a 2016 systematic reviewTrusted Source also found that these functional and structural brain changes, which are consistent with improved emotional regulation, appeared after only 8 weeks of practice of mindfulness-based therapeutic approaches.
Other systematic reviews of meditation-based techniques, such as focused attention and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, have also shown these practices lead to a reduction in symptoms of anxiety.
A study found that among college students ages 19 to 22, the longer they practiced guided meditation the less stress and anxiety they experienced. However, 5 to 12 minutes of daily practice was enough to see results.
An analysis of studies also found that mindfulness-based therapy has been shown to be effective in the reduction of anxiety, depression, and stress.
3. Promotes Emotional Health-
Some forms of meditation can lead to improved self-image and a more positive outlook on life.For example, one research suggest that 3,500 adults found that meditation improved their symptoms of depression.Similarly, a review of 18 studies showed that people receiving meditation therapies experienced reduced symptoms of depression, compared with those in a control group. Another study found that people who completed a meditation exercise experienced fewer negative thoughts in response to viewing negative images, compared with those in a control group. Furthermore, inflammatory chemicals called cytokines, which are released in response to stress, can affect mood, leading to depression. A review of several studies suggests meditation may also reduce depression by decreasing levels of these inflammatory chemicals
4.Enhances Self Awareness -
Meditation helps us train in two types of awareness: awareness with an object of focus, and awareness without an object. When we refer to awareness with an object of focus, that might mean resting our attention on the breath; each time the mind wanders, we simply bring the attention back to the breath — and our awareness is restored. The breath acts as our anchor to the present moment.
Awareness without an object is a little tougher, and probably for more seasoned meditators, because we are asking the mind to rest in awareness itself, without focusing on anything. We are just present with the silence and quality of spaciousness.
Through practicing meditation, we’re able to train the mind to expand the amount of time it can rest in awareness. But is all this effort worth it? Yes, because an awareness of thoughts and feelings, and a better understanding of why we think and feel the way we do, allows for more choice in your responses and actions, which in turn, leads to reduced stress, increased happiness, improved relationships, and an overall richer existence.
When we use meditation to look inward and gain insight into our thought patterns, we are practicing meditation for self-awareness. Psychologist and author Tasha Eurich describes self-awareness as “the ability to see ourselves clearly — to understand who we are, how others see us, and how we fit into the world around us.”
One positive side effect of practicing awareness meditation is that we begin to see ourselves more clearly through the process. By quieting the noise and witnessing our thoughts without judgment or inner commentary, we can become more intimate with ourselves, our needs, our desires, and our limitations. With this self-knowledge comes the ability to make smarter choices that positively impact our lives and our world. “There is strong scientific evidence that people who know themselves and how others see them are happier.”
5. Increases Attention Span -
‘Meditate’ is the advice passed around for everything -- from stress to depression. And with good reason. Past research has well established that meditation can improve your attention span in old age, reduce stress levels, lower risk of depression, and ease anxiety and improve your cardiovascular health. Meditating for just 10 minutes every day can help prevent your mind from wandering and reduce repetitive, anxious thoughts.
To date, however, no direct neurophysiological link between respiration and cognition has been suggested. A new research has explained, for the first time, the neurophysiological link between breathing and attention.
The research shows for the first time that breathing - a key element of meditation and mindfulness practices - directly affects the levels of a natural chemical messenger in the brain called noradrenaline. This chemical messenger is released when we are challenged, curious, exercised, focused or emotionally aroused, and, if produced at the right levels, helps the brain grow new connections, like a brain fertiliser.
In other words, the way we breathe, directly affects the chemistry of our brains in a way that can enhance our attention and improve our brain health.
Focused-attention meditation is like weight lifting for your attention span. It helps increase the strength and endurance of your attention. Research found that people who listened to a meditation tape experienced improved attention and accuracy while completing a task, compared with those in a control group .A similar research showed that people who regularly practiced meditation performed better on a visual task and had a greater attention span than those without any meditation experience.Moreover, in conclusion that meditation may even reverse patterns in the brain that contribute to mind-wandering, worrying, and poor attention. Even meditating for a short period each day may benefit you.