How Meditation Improves Your Physical Health
Meditation is becoming more mainstream than ever before. We hear about it in the media almost on a daily basis now. No longer is it just for hippy-dippy people who go around hugging trees and eating weird food. That’s because science has finally caught up with what wise people have known for centuries—that meditation calms the mind and brings balance and health to the body.
You may have seen mediation as a waste of time, and you wouldn’t be the first. After all, it looks boring and pointless. You literally do nothing. Who could stand it? In our busy modern world where we are used to being entertained constantly, either from binge-watching TV, movies on demand, social media or games on our cell phones, it can be difficult to imagine just doing nothing…unless you are asleep.
But you may just change your mind when you see the impressive list of health benefits that neuroscience can now prove are attributed to mediation.
Meditation can actually reduce our risk of some of the most common medical ailments of our time—and the biggest “killers” in our society, such as:
Meditation Reduces Risk Of
High blood pressure
Neurodegenerative diseases associated with aging
Beyond that, there are many other ways that meditation benefits our well-being and helps us live happier, healthier lives:
Physical Benefits of Meditation
Improves quality of sleep
Increases brain function
Boosts immune system
Reduces chronic pain
Elevates pain caused by tense muscles
Relieves anxiety and improves mood
Reduces amount of atrophy in the brain, keeping brains, “younger”
Leads to better decision making by using different parts of the brain that enable more rational and less emotional reactions to stressful situations
Changes brain structure associated with learning, memory, sense of self, empathy and stress in only 8 weeks
Changes structure of the amygdala, the part of the brain that helps determine how we respond to stress responses
Improves mood, visual-spatial processing, memory and cognition
Reduces risk of reoccurring clinical depression
Reduces frequency of binge-eating
Reduces relapses in substance abuse
Meditation has been proven to help manage and reduce stress in the body and in the mind, which is why it does all the things on these impressive lists. And it doesn’t take years of mediation to see these results! Medical studies prove that changes in the brain occur in as little as 8 weeks of mindfulness meditation practice.
The participants in these studies reported overall improved mood, less judging thoughts, more tolerance for situations that used to cause them stress, awareness of actions, easier to relax and feelings of well-being.
Meditation actually changes the pathways in the brain and increases gray matter in the sections of the brain that deal with response to stress and stimuli. With this increase comes more control over our thoughts and actions. Meditation for just 10-15 minutes a day can lead to experiencing these benefits.