What are the Benefits of Meditation?

Meditation is often associated with religion. Some religions practice meditation, and the Bible urges reading and meditating on Scripture. But can meditation be beneficial to your health?

Lady finding peace in meditationMeditation is becoming more popular as more people learn of its various health benefits. While meditation does help you train yourself to focus and concentrate better, there are multiple health benefits.

Various forms of meditation can help you relax, focus, or even have a more positive outlook on your life. Learning meditation exercises can help improve areas of your life. There are many types of meditation, including mindfulness, self-inquiry, awareness, focused-attention, Kirtan Kriya, Metta, and others. The two major types are focused-attention meditation and open-monitoring meditation.

  • Focused-attention meditation teaches you to focus your attention on a single object, thought, sound, or visualization. It emphasizes clearing your mind of distractions. Focused-attention meditation may focus on breathing, a mantra, or calming sound.
  • The open-monitoring style of meditation encourages a broadened awareness of your environment, train of thought, and sense of self. It may include becoming aware of suppressed thoughts, feelings, or impulses.

5 Health Benefits of Meditation

1. Reduces Stress

Reducing stress is one of the main health benefits of meditation and a popular reason why many people start practicing meditation. Emotional stress can lead to high blood pressure, tension, anxiety, sleeplessness, and other health problems. Meditation helps you clear your mind, relax, and focus better. See our article on Managing Stress.

2. Improves Your Sleep

Have you ever tried to go to sleep when your mind keeps racing? Maybe it's a work project, financial problems, or even an upcoming event that you're excited about. Either way, you can't seem to slow down and relax enough to fall asleep. Becoming skilled at meditation will help you control your thoughts, avoid insomnia, and peacefully fall asleep. See our article about the importance of sleep.

3. Lowers Your Blood Pressure

Man MeditatingA series of 12 studies conducted with almost 1000 participants found that meditation was able to help the participants lower their blood pressure. Being anxious and tense can raise your blood pressure. When an individual's "flight-or-fight" response is on high alert, your pulse is beating faster, your heart is working harder, and your blood pressure levels are higher. Meditation can help you calm down and send out nerve signals to get you to slow down, breathe, and relax. 

4. Improves Your Attention Span

With so many things competing for your attention — text messages, social media posts, phone calls, TV, and the internet — sometimes it is hard to focus on the task at hand. In addition to these distractions, poor diet choices and lack of proper sleep are also factors in having problems staying focused.

Training yourself to focus better by meditating can help train your brain to stop wandering and concentrate on the task at hand. Studies have shown that meditating daily for 12-15 minutes can enhance your memory and attention. 

5. Better Emotional Health

Meditation exercises can also help you deal with depression and develop a more positive outlook on your life. Reducing your negative thoughts and having a healthier self-image will reduce your symptoms of depression and decrease your levels of inflammatory chemicals known as cytokines.

As you can see, there are many benefits to meditation. The goal of any style of meditation is to help you improve your quality of life. It only needs to take a few minutes each day and can help you focus, relax, sleep better, and feel better about yourself. Meditation can take on many forms, it can be prayer, a tradition pose, done in conjunction with sound or music. Find your way of meditating and improve your health and life.