Life-changing Effects of Meditation

Mindfulness meditation
A woman doing mindfulness meditation

You’ve probably seen celebrities on TV vouching for the life-changing effects of practicing meditation regularly. And you might be a bit skeptical. After all, your reasoning could be that those people have everything they could ever want. And if that’s the case what could possibly put their psychological or emotional state in turmoil that would result in them becoming easy candidates for the highly-touted results of meditating?

While you have a point, it’s important to note that meditation is for everyone. Regardless of your color, race, or social status, the practice welcomes you. It welcomes you with open and loving arms, despite whatever sense of incredulity you still hold. Let meditation embrace you and enjoy these positive consequences of being, simply, right here right now.

Cures psychological disorders

Meditation is popular among those who suffer from chronic anxiety. It does not take an expert to say with certainty that conscious breathing easily calms the nerves. It can help curb symptoms of depression too. So the next time you feel the blues setting in, breathe in and out and find your center.

If you suffer from an eating disorder, meditation will help you re-align your thought pattern. For example, match your binge-eating recovery plan with a mindfulness practice so you’re not only feeding your body with something healthy but your soul as well.

Improves memory and attention

There will come a point in your life when for some reason retaining new memories becomes difficult. Or retrieving old memories for that matter. It could be because of aging. Or something happening in your brain circuitry triggered by recent trauma. Meditation will help you address this problem. The more you take the time to sit down for a moment of mindfulness, the better your memory will improve.

Another popular concern among technology-reliant people, which covers pretty much all of us, is our dwindling attention span. From time to time you need to turn off those gadgets and return to the basics. Meditation will help you regain the capacity for attention you lost due to always being in front of black mirrors.

Aids in stress management

Are you on the verge of burnout? Do you feel like any day now you will throw a tantrum at the office that will put your career in jeopardy? It’s time to sit back, relax, and listen to your breathing.

Stress is caused by going through things too fast. You need to slow down. Your mind and body need to rest. Mindfulness practice is an exercise that comes in the guise of resting. Use it to better manage your stress levels. In no time you’ll be ready to once again take on your job responsibilities, not with caffeine and adrenaline but pure joy.

Helps curb the onset of physical maladies

A lot of physical illnesses can be traced to unmanaged stress. And stress levels are significantly lowered through regularly practicing meditation. You can easily put two and two together.

If you have cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases running in your bloodline, the more you need to meditate. Keep those diseases at bay by ensuring your body releases as few toxins and free radicals as possible.

Fosters self-acceptance

Sometimes we expect too much from ourselves. We put too much pressure on ourselves. We blame ourselves for past mistakes. We plot unfair expectations. And when we fall short, we spiral into episodes of crushed self-esteem.

Mindfulness recalibrates our brain. It teaches us to accept where we are and where we’ve been. That makes where we’re going clearer and more realistic. That goes without saying that we’re still free to dream and dream big for that matter. But those dreams will be more grounded, based on our intuitive power, our deeper connection to our innermost purpose, the reason why we exist.

If you haven’t yet, it’s high time you practice meditation. The life-changing effects listed above should be enough to convince you. Rest assured that this uncomplicated habit will steer your life in its most fulfilling direction.

Plus, now more than ever, you need to find your center, to breathe with ease and peace. There are so many bad things happening around you that are enough to test your sanity, even your physical health. Do not allow yourself to be swallowed by all of this negativity.

As soon as you learn mindfulness, you will find yourself letting go of the things beyond your control. You will, as a result, become more in control of your emotions, thoughts, and how you react to the world.

How Does Mindful Meditation Affect Your Brain

 

Mindfulness and Brain
Mindfulness and Brain

How is it possible to make changes to our brain? Instead of going online or playing another game on your phone, try quieting down your mind.

Not possible instantly!

However, try to pay attention to your thoughts and remain passive without reacting.

Research over the years proves that just a few minutes of meditation may make a big difference. Let’s examine how.

What is Meditation?

Meditation is an active form of brain training. This mental training activates increased awareness of the mind. There are various meditation programs prescribed by experts to approach it in different ways.

A review study conducted by Madhav Goyal of John Hopkins looked at the relationship between mindfulness meditation and its effect on brain. This research established that “meditation isn’t a magic bullet for depression, as no treatment is, but it’s one of the tools that may help manage symptoms.”  

Another evidence has linked practising mindfulness to improvements in many parts of the brain.

Researchers suggest that mindfulness can affect the production of chemicals that change our mood. In fact, there are evidences to prove connections between different regions of the brain that change when we are mindful.

“Mindfulness is a kind of mental exercise for your brain. Based on meditation, it helps you to focus on the present moment.”, says Meena Joshi, Mindfulness Expert for Bupa UK.

Technique & Benefit

Mindful Meditation requires focused attention on one specific thing. This object of focus could be anything – it could be your breathing, a sensation in your body or a particular object outside of you. Mindful Meditation focuses on one point and continuously brings your attention back to that focal point when it wanders away.

An intriguing study carried out by the Yale University proved that meditation reduces activity in the brain’s “Me Centre”. This implies that the mind that meditates amply does not think about itself. It transcends beyond this realm.  Mindfulness meditation decreases activity in the default mode network (DMN) or the brain network responsible for mind-wandering and self-referential thoughts.

Being sad or pensive, or moody is typically associated with worrying about the past and future, the ultimate goal of meditation is to prevent this. Several studies have shown that meditation is an effective natural tranquilliser.

For developing brains of children, the results of mindful meditation are even more promising. To deal with modern stresses, many schools have introduced yoga and meditation into their curriculum.

Several studies have confirmed the cognitive and emotional benefits of meditation on school children as well as adults. Some of the benefits of meditation include:

  • Better Focus
  • Less Anxiety
  • More Creativity
  • More Compassion
  • Better Memory
  • Less Stress &
  • More Gray Matter (associated with energy and intelligence)

 

In fact, a sub-genre of meditation, called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts’ Center for Mindfulness aims to reduce a person’s stress level, physically and mentally. Studies have proved its efficacy in reducing anxiety even years after the initial 8-week course.

Benefits of Mindful Meditation

In recent years, the public attention has soared about mindful meditation.

Mindful Based Stress Reduction(MBSR) brings about real time change in brain regions involving attention and relief from symptoms of social anxiety, as per Stanford University team research. Therefore, people with social anxiety disorder can benefit from it as well.

  • Well designed studies have shown benefits for patients of depression, chronic pain, and anxiety engaging in a mindfulness meditation program, with effects similar to other existing treatments. Research has also shown benefits of mindfulness meditation on an array of conditions both physical and mental, including irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, psoriasis, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • With more studies, researchers have concluded that human mind is a very complex organ and that mindfulness brings about real changes in the brain.

These changes are both simple and very complicated, and that mindfulness is helping us change our minds for the better. Since mind and body work in unison, there are many more unexpected ways that we could expect the results as per the stimuli.

Mindfulness experts reported feeling less pain than people who didn’t practice mindfulness. By not drawing on memories of pain, the experts were able to feel less pain.

  • Another significant benefit of meditation was better brain preservation. A very interesting study from UCLA has pointed out to the benefits of meditation. Meditators who had been practicing meditation for twenty years or longer had better preserved brains and the volume of grey matter was significantly higher too. Even the brain loss that happens with prolonged age is lesser in them.

According to Scientific American Journal, “the effects of mindfulness have been great to see it move away from being a spiritual thing towards proper science and clinical evidence, as stress is a huge problem and has a huge impact on many people’s health. Being able to take time out and focus our mind is increasingly important.”

The quasi-spiritual connotations of meditation have so far prevented mindfulness from being hailed as an antidote to this frantic chaos of  New Age. Mindfulness has come to stay and in few years time, it could become as much a part of our mundane chores like taking a bath or sleeping are.

Contributor Bio – The article is presented by Sharda Hospital. Sharda Hospital is one of the largest super speciality hospitals in Delhi National Capital Region (NCR).

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Benefits of Meditation: A fresh relook

Hi,

When I started this website, I wrote an article on Benefits of Meditation. It is still there and covers the main benefits of meditation in a short summarized form. While this article gives you a broad idea, it is somewhat lacking in presenting the scientific researches on the measurable benefits of meditation that have been made in the past decades.

Benefits of Meditation
Benefits of Meditation

Since meditation has become quite main stream in the western world, a number of scientific studies have been conducted out there to actually measure the effects of meditation on human body. The studies are quite encouraging and give a positive verdict on the practice of meditation for physical and mental well being of people. For the guys like me, who are already a strong advocate of practice of meditation, the findings of these results are like music to the ears.

Coming back to benefits of meditations, one of my friends Giovanni Dienstmann (well honestly speaking, we became friends only a few weeks ago through a Linkedin forum ) has written an excellent article on the benefits of meditation wherein he has covered in great details about a number of scientific studies on meditation. Giovanni is a Meditation instructor and runs a popular blog on meditation & personal growth (Liveanddare.com). He realized that there have been over 3,000 scientific studies on the benefits of meditation, but nowhere on the internet there has been any compilation of them in an organized form. Thus he decided to fill in the gap by writing Scientific Benefits of Meditation – 76 things you might be missing out

I think that this article is one of the most important articles ever written on the scientific benefits of meditation. Backed by the source of the scientific studies conducted, it presented a solid compilation of all the benefits of meditation that have been validated in a lab. You must read it to know some measurable benefits of meditation.

My own take on the benefits of meditation

There are many wonderful things in life whose benefits you can realize only by actually doing them. You can read an encyclopedia on the benefits of walking in the morning. But that will be of no use unless you take the plunge and start a routine of morning walk. That will be the only way to actually feel the benefits.

Same thing applies to meditation. Keep aside the scientific study for a moment. You need to meditate yourself to see if it benefits you or not. That is the only test that matters for normal folks like us.

So when are you going to make meditation a part of your daily routine?