The journey towards peace and a healthy lifestyle may not always be a linear path. Sometimes being open to new methods of healing can lead us to our breakthrough. At first glance meditation may not seem to be your cup of tea. But if you take a closer look, you’ll see that the benefits of meditation are persuasive enough to make you start practicing. I’ve been practicing meditation on and off for years, and have recently picked the habit back up during the early days of the pandemic. And I can attest that it’s been nothing short of a life saver.
The Benefits of Meditation
Meditation is the practice of training your mind to focus by rediecting your thoughts and attention while the body is in a state of relaxation. Meditation is practiced in numerous religious traditions. In recent years meditation has become increasingly popular due to the countless health benefits, many of which can be felt almost immediately.
Psychological stress can also provoke symptoms in chronic inflammatory disorders. In a research article published in Science Direct, A comparison of mindfulness-based stress reduction and an active control in modulation of neurogenic inflammation, studies show a reduction of inflammation brought on by psychological stress after 8 weeks.
Meditation is also beneficial when dealing with job-related anxiety. In one study published by the National Library of Medicine, employees who used a mindful meditation app for 8 weeks experienced a decline of stress levels in the work place with an improvement in overall wellbeing, in comparison with those in a control group.
In another study published by the Journal of Clinical Psychology, researchers found that mindfulness meditation reduced the symptoms in people with generalised anxiety disorder, improved coping mechanisms and reaction to stress after 8 weeks.
In the research article, Does mindfulness attenuate thought emphasising negativity, but not positivity?, researchers discovered that people who completed a meditation exercise experienced fewer negative thoughts in response to viewing negative images, when compared with those in a control group.
In a 2019 study, Brief, daily meditation enhances attention, memory, mood, and emotional regulation in non-experienced meditators, researchers concluded that daily meditation decreased negative mood states, enhanced attention, working memory, and recognition memory as well as a decreased state in anxiety.
In a study published in 2015, Stress, Meditation, and Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention: Where The Evidence Stands, researchers proved that Kirtan Kriya (a type of meditation) is effective in treating people with memory loss. Evidence shows that the regular practice of Kirtan Kriya by people with age-related memory loss helped improve performance during neuropsychological testing.
In the article, A Randomized Controlled Trial of Mindfulness Meditation for Chronic Insomnia published in 2014, researchers found that people who meditated stayed asleep longer and had improved insomnia severity, compared with those who had an unmedicated control condition.
There are a variety of meditation techniques that can be used to help improve sleep patterns. Intergrating mediation into your lifestyle can shorten the time it takes to fall asleep, as well as increase sleep quality.
HOW TO MEDITATE
There are various meditation techniques. Finding the one that is right for you may seem overwhelming as a beginner. Starting off with simple breath-focused meditation is a great way to begin. It involves using the breath as the centre of focus. Breath-focused meditation has several cognitive benefits such as improved attention span, enhanced focus, and increased positive emotions.
Simple Meditation For Beginners
In the beginning try to practice for a minimum of 5 minutes, and then try it for longer periods of time as you progress.