When you hear the word meditation, it may remind you of Buddhist monks or new age hipsters engaging in the newest fad, but today, that’s just not the case. Meditation is a practice that is quickly growing and people, as well as medicine and science, are starting to see its health benefits. That’s why Dr. Nandi suggests to his patients to try their hand at meditation to combat stress and illness. Here are some of the benefits you may experience.
There is a growing amount of research points toward the amazing health benefits of meditation when it comes to stress relief. By its very nature, meditation narrows your focus and shuts out the external world, quieting the mind and body. This turns off the body’s fight or flight mechanism and switches it to rest and repair, leading to a range of health benefits, including:
- Lower blood pressure
- Improved concentration
- Improved heart rate
- Less emotional distress
- Fewer signs of aging
While meditation benefits anyone, it is especially helpful for women suffering from menstrual and fertility issues. 58% of women with severe PMS symptoms, including cramping, saw a significant improvement by implementing a daily meditation practice. Women with fertility issues also saw a huge improvement in stress relief, and 34% of those in treatment ended up pregnant after starting to a daily meditation practice.
Improved Brain Function
Since meditation lowers stress, it’s easy to understand that it improves brain function, but it does so much more than that. It increases brain activity in the frontal lobe, increasing optimism and lowering pain perception. But these aren’t just short-term impacts. Meditation causes long-lasting changes in how the brain functions, improving attention, memory, and conscious perception.
- Meditation is a skill, and therefore needs to be developed; it will get easier with time. The more you do it, the better you will become.
- While any amount of meditation is beneficial, major improvement happens at 20 minutes a day.
- It’s the repetition of meditation, the focus on the breathing, and the conscious effort to ignore thought that makes it so beneficial.
- It doesn’t matter how you meditate, so find what works for you, whether it’s staring at a flame, repeating a mantra or counting your breaths. There are also alternatives such as regular yoga practice, centering prayer, or even just a walk in nature can create the same benefits.
- If you’re struggling to meditate by yourself, consider finding a class at a local gym, community center, or college. There are also a number of free apps available to support your practice.