The holistic process of training the mind to focus and redirect the thoughts to increase mindfulness and awareness of the surroundings is defined as meditation.
Considered as one of the traditional practices of ancient India, meditation is slowly surpassing its popularity as more people are discovering the cornucopia of health benefits that meditation provides to its practitioners.
Meditation can not only help in boosting cognitive abilities but can also help in fostering a positive mood and outlook towards life.
Intriguing, right? Curious to know more about the scientific benefits of meditation, continue reading the article then as we share some more details.
- ABCs of meditation
Before we state the abundant benefits of meditation, let us first understand what we mean by meditation.
As mentioned before, meditation is considered as the process of making your mind deeply focused for a particular period of time. It is an ancient technique that helps in developing mindfulness and self-awareness.
There are different forms of this practice, catering to everyone\’s needs and some of the popular types of the practice are
- Mindfulness meditation: Mindfulness meditation involves a person being fully present with their thoughts. During this meditation, one tends to be aware of their emotions and thoughts and tries to acknowledge all of their feelings.
- Transcendental meditation: Allowing oneself to settle into a profound state of relaxation, transcendental meditation uses a specific mantra, small phrase, word, or sound to achieve inner peace.
- Guided meditation: Also known as guided visualization, this meditation incorporates imaginations of sceneries and situations that one finds relaxing.
- Vipassana meditation: An ancient Indian form of meditation, vipassana focuses on self-transformation through self-observation. It helps in establishing a spiritual connection between the mind and the body.
- Loving-kindness meditation: Also known as metta meditation, loving-kindness meditation involves directing well-wishes towards others in an attempt to evoke warm-hearted feelings in the practitioner.
- Chakra meditation: Channelizing all the energy sources and spiritual powers in the body, chakra meditation involves aligning all the seven chakras in our body for the better development of the individual.
- Yoga meditation: Another ancient practice of India, yoga involves incorporating different breathing exercises and postures.
- Scientific Benefits of meditation
Meditation can be practiced in different forms and we just saw some of the most popular ones.
Now that we have the different types of meditation out of our way, let us look at some of the potential benefits of meditation.
- Boosts cognitive abilities
Meditation incorporates mindfulness techniques that help one to become aware of their surroundings.
Practicing mindfulness helps one to focus on the present and therefore boost the concentration and focus of the individual in the process.
Conducted on a group of 37 people, a study has shown meditation helps in increasing the grey matter that is responsible for the regulation of memory, language, and emotions. Meditation can also help in training our meta-awareness and subconscious mind.
- Improves self-awareness
We live in a fast-paced world where everyone is running to complete their daily tasks. Meditation, on the other hand, encourages one to slow down and acknowledge their environment and situations.
A person might practice meditation merely for ten minutes a day, however, that ten minutes helps one to focus only on their feelings and thoughts without passing any judgments.
Studies have also shown that this self-awareness technique helps in boosting one\’s self-confidence as well. For those suffering from social anxiety, practicing meditation can be exceptionally beneficial.
- Helps in managing blood pressure and stress
When the hormone cortisol increases in the bloodstream, it causes mental and physical stress.
Increased levels of cortisol in the body also lead to the release of cytokines which leads to disruption of sleep and causes anxiety and depression. High-stress levels also lead to an increase in blood pressure.
However, on the bright side, research has shown that practicing meditation, especially mindfulness meditation can help in decreasing the inflammation caused due to stress.
Practicing meditation daily can help in alleviating the symptoms of stress easily and also improve cardiovascular health. They help in regulating high blood pressure by relaxing the nerve signals that help in coordinating the heart functions.
- Reduces age-related memory problems
Reduction in cognitive abilities at one age is one of the biggest factors for the development of diseases like Alzheimer\’s and Parkinson\’s. Meditation helps in reducing the time of the onset of the decline of cognitive abilities.
A study conducted on older volunteers has shown that by practicing meditation, one can not only help in combating memory loss but also help in improving the symptoms caused due to ailments like dementia.
- Alleviates the overall physical health of the body
Apart from boosting the mental health of the body, meditation can also help in improving the physical health of an individual drastically too.
Meditation helps in combating addictions and also boosts emotional health. It helps one to manage impulses and therefore control the urges that lead to the addictions.
Practicing meditation forms like mindfulness and yoga boosts circulation which helps in solving different health problems in the body. And it is important to mention the fact that since meditation helps in managing the stress levels in the body, it simultaneously also helps in solving the different problems associated with high levels of cortisol in the body.
How to practice meditation?
Meditation involves a variety of elements and there is no correct way to practice meditation. It solely depends upon the practitioner on how they want to inculcate the practice in his/her daily routine.
However, to simplify, we have created a short rundown on how you can practice meditation in your everyday routine.
- First of all, choose a quiet setting. Calm yourself down and choose a comfortable position.
- Now focus on your breathing pattern.
Take deep breaths in, hold in for a few seconds, and then breathe out. Practice it for 5-10 mins.
- Then close your eyes, and try to focus on different parts of your body. Try to grasp the sensations that are going through the body at that particular time. This will help one to become self-aware.
- You can also try to include the chanting of a mantra or any hymn of your religion to relax your body and align the different chakras of your body.
- You can also try to focus on love and gratitude by sending prayers of goodwill to different people and finally finish off the session with some yoga poses.
Now there you go, a detailed guide on the different aspects of meditation. Hopefully, our article was able to shed some light on the scientific benefits of meditation and how to incorporate meditation into your daily routine.
With the help of a holistic process like meditation, incorporating the small techniques in your life can help in improving your physical and mental health in no time.
If you wonder where you should start from, there are always YouTube videos and guides that can come to our help or you can seek the guidance of a certified practitioner for professional guidance.