Benefits of Meditation That You Might Not Know
Everyone knows that meditation can relieve stress and induce a peaceful state of mind, but are you aware of all its benefits? As it happens, science is unearthing more and more reasons why we should meditate every day, without exception. But before you learn more about them, it's important to clarify something...
Sitting cross-legged on the floor with your arms on your knees and with your eyes closed, shooing away pestering thoughts while waiting for something spiritual to happen isn't meditation. Meditation isn't about the posture of your body, although that does matter. It isn't about chasing thoughts away, either. Rather, meditation is about stopping and simply being. When thoughts come, you let them pass. If a fly is buzzing behind the curtain, you let it buzz. You use that sound like the bell the Buddhists use in their monasteries.
Meditation is all about connecting with your inner self, graciously and without any acrobatic or intellectual effort. It's about being aware of your breathing and your body as you sit in a comfortable position, on the floor, on a chair, even in bed. Only when you use meditation as a way to connect with the present moment, so beautifully marked by your breathing, can you take advantage of all the unexpected benefits of meditation. There are so many of them that we don’t even know where to start. But we’ll try.
Boosts Your Immune System
When you meditate, you reduce stress-related chemicals in your body, which have a negative impact on your immune system. Our immune systems fight a lot of bacteria and bad substances every day. It’s a closely fought battle. Stress and anxiety can often be all that's needed to tip it over against us.
Having a strong immune system is especially important during the colder seasons when our bodies are more susceptible to colds and other common viral threats. The effects of meditation on your immune system can be even more significant than those of living an active life. Not that being active isn’t important.
What does meditation have to do with fertility? You may wonder. Again, it's about stress management. People who have low-stress levels tend to have fewer fertility issues. In fact, they have a consistently higher fertility rate. Scientists don't yet know the mechanism underlying this, but in their tests, subjects who meditated regularly got pregnant more easily.
Regulates Mood and Anxiety Disorders
Meditation can have such a big impact on regulating our moods and anxiety that it has been compared in its effectiveness to an antidepressant. But unlike an antidepressant, meditation doesn't have any serious side-effects, apart maybe from a leg numbness, if you don’t do it the right way. And even if meditation may be addictive, it doesn't create a bad addiction like some of the antidepressants on the market do. Meditation is safe.
Increases Gray Matter Concentration
Harvard neuroscientists found that people who integrate mindfulness into their lives and meditate every day have denser gray matter concentrations in key areas of the brain. These areas include parts of the brain that regulate learning, memory, or sense of self. What this suggests is that meditation can have a beneficial effect on your brain in all these areas. Amazing, isn't it?
Protects You from Pain
Meditation is often talked about as an effective way to deal with both emotional and physical pain, but its benefits go deeper than that. A study that involved 13 Zen masters and 13 non-practitioners and a bit of pain from a heat source found that the Zen's masters felt less pain that their neurological input suggested.
Your life may be a bit too busy for you to become a Zen master anytime soon, but the message is clear - meditation doesn't only help you deal with the pain that's in your body, but also to protect you from external pain. What's more, another study found that meditation relieves pain better than morphine. Maybe one-day meditation will become a common practice in our hospitals. Never say never.
Meditation Saves You from the Dangers of Multitasking
Multitasking doesn't make you more productive. If anything, it can stress you out. While it's true that our brains "multi-task" our bodies all the time, they have a hard time switching between external tasks. Meditation is known to improve concentration, and one of the side effects of that is that it focuses the brain on the task at hand.
A person who meditates regularly can use his or her concentration better to finish the given task. Also, he or she won't be as stressed out as a non-practitioner when shifting tasks in the workplace.
Meditation Improves Divergent Thinking
Divergent thinking is one of the most effective paths our brains take to come up with bright ideas. Meditation can improve divergent thinking and help us generate better ideas faster. A Dutch study on this found that participants who meditated were able to come with creative ideas more easily.
Meditation Reduces Risk of Premature Death
Meditation has many positive effects on our bodies. It can reduce the risk for heart disease and Alzheimer's, lower blood pressure, and decrease cellular-level inflammation. Best of all, it reduces the risk of a premature death. If you want to live a long and healthy life, meditating every day is something you should definitely find time for.
Meditation Decreases Loneliness
Mindfulness meditation can decrease feelings of loneliness and can have a positive emotional impact on our lives. Feelings of loneliness aren't only unpleasant, but they are associated with a higher risk of mortality. Meditation can be indeed a lifesaver when you're at your lowest.
The message is clear: meditation is amazing for your mind, body, and relationships. But for it to be effective, you have to do it regularly, for at least 20-30 minutes. Make it a daily habit and you’ll get the most out of its benefits. Don't forget that meditation isn't about the cushion or the crossed legs. It's about the breathing and the peace. It's about you.
All facts and studies taken from: http://liveanddare.com/benefits-of-meditation-2/
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