When you hear “meditation” you probably picture someone with her legs crossed and her arms above her head saying “ohm.” The image looks religious, spiritual, or maybe silly to you. Meditation, however, is actually a legitimate practice!
Through many different meditation techniques, including mindfulness meditation, repetition, and sitting quietly in a relaxing pose, you can reap several different health benefits.
For instance, meditating:
1. Improves Pain Tolerance
Mindfulness meditation is a technique that focuses thoughts and attention on certain feelings, both emotional and physical. Many people in the medical community find that this practice helps patients to experience a higher pain tolerance. As a result of higher pain tolerance, many people who practice meditation rely on fewer pain-reducing medications.
2. Relieves Stress
One of the main purposes of meditation is also one of the main benefits. Stress relief is a major advantage of meditation, as it helps to improve both the mental and the physical condition. Many meditation techniques revolve around setting aside concerns and distractions to allow the body and mind to quietly, safely, and calmly work through things and ultimately de-stress.
3. Boosts Heart Health
When you meditate, it can also boost your heart health. Meditation requires focusing on breathing and calmly resting. The practice allows the heart to rest, as well. This is important for your long-term health because stress, pressure, and constant strain on the heart can lead to illness like cardiovascular disease.
4. Changes Your Brain
Believe it or not, if you consistently meditate for a just a few minutes a day, the practice will change how your brain is structured and processes information. For instance, the part of your brain that assesses situations and follows logic is quite separate from the part of your brain that focuses on you (like what you are feeling). Through meditation, the brain can change to better connect these two different spheres, resulting in you being able to assess yourself more reasonably.
5. Enhances Ability to Remember
Another change in your brain through meditation is increased memory capability. One of the major meditation benefits, improved memory is believed to occur because time meditating allows the brain to focus solely on scrapping information it doesn’t need and processing what’s left. Basically, meditation makes more space in the brain for memories.
6. Sparks Your Creativity
Through meditation techniques, there is also often an increase in grey matter in the Posterior Cingulate Cortex (PCC). The PCC is the part of your brain that drives imagination. Stimulating your PCC often results in greater creativity.
7. Fights Infection
More than just keeping you from feeling as sick, meditation can actually help your body to fight off germs and infections more effectively. That’s because meditation is associated with a boost in antibodies and can stimulate the brain, including the parts of the brain that trigger immune responses. So, if you’d like to get sick less often or to fight off illness faster, try meditating more often!
8. Stabilizes Blood Pressure
Just like meditation can help your heartrate to reach a resting, calming pace, the practice can also help your heart and blood vessels to circulate better.
The resulting blood pressure stability can be life-changing. That’s because meditation helps the body to produce more “good” hormones, signals, and other things, including the gas nitric oxide, which helps to expand blood vessels and lower blood pressure.
9. Eases Tensions That Keep You Awake
De-stressing through meditation clears out all that worrying that keeps you awake at night. It also helps all of your muscles to relax, which can improve your ability to sleep and sleep deeply, as well. When you sleep better and regularly, your overall health improves, too.
10. Can Improve Metabolism
New studies are indicating that it is possible that meditation helps to alter gene structures, including those that influence health factors like inflammation and metabolism. The studies suggest that meditating regularly may help mitochondria to perform in such a way that metabolic reactions are improved.
11. Helps PMS Symptoms
It’s no surprise that if meditation can influence inflammation, mood, and stress levels, it can also affect women’s menstrual discomfort. Many of the PMS symptoms that are bothersome are connected to stress levels, hormonal fluctuations, and bloating or swelling. When women meditate, these factors are more balanced, helping to reduce and relieve some PMS challenges.
12. Balances Emotions
Of course, the stereotype that meditating is spiritual is somewhat true. The practice focuses not only on mental and physical relaxation, but on sorting out emotions. That can be very spiritual for people. It also offers the benefit of improving emotional health by offering a healthy method for sorting through emotions.