You must have heard about the positive effects of meditation on the body, maybe, a million times till now. How it’s wonderful for stress relief. We know that you would have also wondered how many of these are true. We don’t know about all that you have heard but we certainly can tell you the benefits that science and research validates.
You will start noticing the soothing and calming effects of meditation quite soon if you practice it regularly and properly. But before you start you should know the reason behind those effects.
Here are some of the positive, science-backed effects of meditation for stress relief
1. Reduces stress
Psychological stress is one of the biggest monsters of this age and time. And factors like work pressure, problems in a relationship, or bad grades, can all contribute to stress. They can grip your mind in no time, leaving you emotionally crippled. But you can overpower such stressful feelings with the help of meditation.
The JAMA Internal Medicine conducted a research that validates how psychological stress can be relieved using meditation. The experts further recommend that clinicians should suggest meditation as one of the ways to dealing with stress.
2. Reduces anxiety
A study says that 1 out of every 13 people suffer from anxiety disorder across the globe. University of Queensland conducted this study including 91 countries and over 480,000 participants. And the research revealed that anxiety is a serious disorder all over the world. Clinical anxiety has affected 10 percent population of North America, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, 8 percent of the Middle East while in Asia the number is 6 percent.
While these numbers are highly frightening, there’s no reason for despair. A research about impact of meditation on mental health reveals that mindfulness meditation is an amazing tool to treat anxiety disorders.
3. Improves concentration and focus
Meditation is exercise for the brain. It helps in making your brain stronger. 10 minutes of meditation everyday can improve your ability to focus and concentrate. Intensive meditation of more than 60 minutes a day, helps to enhance your brain function, build attention span, and sustain it for a fairly long period of time. It helps you focus on things that require minute attention.
In modern times, when attention spans are shrinking dramatically, meditation can make you stand out in a crowd that has been engulfed by the negative effects of the changing times.
4. Reduces vulnerability to depression
Just like meditation helps with stress relief and reducing anxiety, it also helps in keeping depression at bay. In a study conducted about clinical depression, researchers found that around 9 percent of people living in Asia and Middle East suffered from serious depression. On the other hand, only 4 percent of the Western population was affected by depression.
Meditation regulates the levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine and chemicals and hormones such as cortisol in your body that impact your mental state and helps in avoiding depression.
5. Improves sleep quality
Insomnia or lack of sleep is a widespread phenomenon in present times. Stress, work pressure, competition and other such worries keep many of us awake at night. Regular meditation helps relax the body and mind for better sleep. It helps with stress relief and anxiety. The mental chatter that keeps you awake at night is controlled for better quality and deeper sleep that recharges and refreshes you.
6. Improves emotional health
Meditation is said to improve self-image and give you a more positive outlook towards adversity and stressful situations. Moreover, meditation can reduce depression by decreasing levels of inflammatory chemicals like cytokines that are released due to stress.
7. Enhances self-awareness
Those who practice meditation develop a higher sense of self. They are better equipped to understand their feelings, thoughts and physical emotions and take stock of them clearly. Self-awareness allows individuals to see themselves from a non-biased perspective and in a more honest light. They are able to understand deep-seated triggers and emotions that they couldn’t have recognized before.
Here are the steps to a simple meditation – a 10-minute daily practice that can change your life
- Do not worry about the time of the day. Just find 10 minutes of your schedule anytime of the day.
- Be in a comfortable position – you can use a chair, sit cross legged or even lie down.
- Close your eyes, pay attention to your brain chatter and try to calm it down.
- To quiet down this brain chatter, focus on your breath.
- Pay attention to each inhalation and exhalation, to how your body moves when breathing, how the diaphragm expands when inhaling and compresses when exhaling.
- Initially you may find your attention wandering after every couple of minutes. And that might demotivate you. Just bring back your attention and simply focus on your breath.
Use this simple meditation technique initially for 10 minutes daily and reap the health benefits of meditation.