People often feel that meditation is a way to spirituality, and it is part of specific religions. But, it is an essential tool that can benefit everyone. The daily practice of meditation can help you become more efficient and effective in your everyday personal and professional life.
Some of the many benefits include:
MEDITATION IMPROVES FOCUS AND CONCENTRATION
Meditation will help improve your power to focus. You can concentrate better, allowing you to get more done daily. It increases productivity. One must understand that uni-tasking is better than multi-tasking. However, one may feel that with multi-tasking, they can get a lot more done quickly, but in reality, when you are doing multiple things at once, you aren’t doing tasks to the best of your ability.
You will learn that you can get more done with the daily practice of meditation. It is because you are focused on one thing at a time.
Focusing will allow you to clear your mind of limiting beliefs, and you become more effective at problem-solving by unleashing your creativity.
WORK MORE EFFICIENTLY
With a clear, focused, and energized mind, you can view your tasks and projects with new perspectives. When you can visualize different perspectives, you can work more effectively because you will see that there are other options available.
MEDITATION HELPS YOU FIGHT DISEASE AND STAY HEALTHIER
Our mind plays a huge role in making choices daily that affect our health, whether mental or physical health. Meditation helps one focus on their thoughts, and a person is more conscious of their mood and actions. With this conscious awareness, one gets an opportunity to make the right decisions.
Several studies have shown the positive effect of meditation on mood, blood pressure, and stomach problems.
Meditation helps boost your immunity. Studies have shown us that daily meditation can reduce the risk of several cancers, such as breast cancer. When your mind is relaxed, it helps the body recuperate and builds resistance to multiple diseases.
With daily practice of meditation, you are better able to handle stressful situations. With proper practice of medication, one can reduce the effects of even past emotional trauma. You are also more aware of your mood and can make conscious decisions as opposed to unconscious decisions made by your mind in response to stressful situations.
MEDITATION IMPROVES SLEEP
Many people don’t realize how important sleep is. Many think that I can get more done with less sleep, but the truth is that you get less done. Sleep is that part of the body’s cycle where the body recuperates mentally and physically. This process provides healing and gets you ready for the next day.
This recuperation process is not complete when you sleep less than seven hours a night. Your body can not function properly. Slowly, this lack of sleep will catch up to you, and you will feel irritated, tired, and devoid of energy. Your work will get affected as well.
Meditation helps with mental and physical relaxation. Whether you meditate in the morning or the evening, you will see benefits either way. You will be able to sleep better at night.
MEDITATION IMPROVES BRAIN FUNCTIONS AND PLASTICITY
Brain plasticity refers to the brain’s ability to change its structure and function. There have been numerous studies published that show meditation’s effect on brain plasticity.
A study identified several brain structures altered by meditation, such as the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), insula, and hippocampus . These areas have been associated with several complex cognitive functions, such as empathy, impulse control, emotion, and decision-making.
An area in the brain referred to as Default Mode Network (DMN) gets activated when you are not doing anything. In this mode, your mind wanders in the past or future. Mindfulness meditation reduces the activity of DMN, and hence you can focus better .
MEDITATION REDUCES STRESS LEVELS
Stress is the body’s response to external stimuli. It could be a positive response (Eustress) and a negative one (Distress). Examples of eustress include the excitement of a roller-coaster ride. We already know what distress is. This is what is commonly referred to as stress. This negative stress affects our psychosocial functions and physical body (stomach upset, tense shoulders, headache, etc.)
HOW DOES MEDITATION REDUCE STRESS?
Meditation helps calm down our emotions. With mindfulness meditation, you are actually more aware of your emotions. You begin to realize why you are feeling the way you are feeling. This way, you can act consciously as opposed to unconscious action. For example, a raw mind may resort to cake, cookies, or alcohol when faced with a stressful situation. On the other hand, a meditator’s mind will be more aware of the emotion and why they feel that way and can resort to better options than reactive ones. They can choose to walk or listen to music or talk with loved ones instead of unhealthy choices.
If you meditate daily, your mind will learn to remain calm, preventing stress. You will be more prepared to deal with stressful life events with this mind.
MEDITATION HELPS REDUCE ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION
Meditation has been utilized as a non-pharmacological intervention therapy. It is known to help control depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, pain, fatigue, and stress levels in cancer patients .
A meta-analysis of Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBIs) for psychiatric disorders found the clearest evidence for their use for depression. MBIs were better than no treatment and other active therapies and equivalent to evidence-based treatments such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) drugs used to treat depression .
MEDITATION IMPROVES RESILIENCE
Resilience refers to the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something terrible happens (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). Worse things can happen to good people. Nelson Mandela stated, “Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”
Resilience lets us handle the ups and downs of a life well. Challenges are just an opportunity for growth. There will always be joys and sorrows in one’s life. Resilient people can greet the change and stressful situation as an opportunity for personal development, learning, and growth.
How one reacts to these stressful situations is a choice. One can blame the world for their sorrows or accept it as an opportunity for self-reflection and growth. We can’t control the world, but we certainly can control how we react to it.
A study published in the Journal of Personality and Individual Differences showed that mindfulness helps people cope with hard times – and there will always be some hard times. Instead of reacting, mindful meditation allows us to hit a mental “pause” button and accept.
“Bad” feelings or thoughts aren’t the enemy. The problem is our reaction to those thoughts. When we use mindful meditation to become aware of these thoughts, we have the power to accept and move forward.
- K. C. R. Fox, S. Nijeboer, M. L. Dixon et al., “Is meditation associated with altered brain structure? A systematic review and meta-analysis of morphometric neuroimaging in meditation practitioners,” Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, vol. 43, pp. 48–73, 2014
- Y. Y. Tang, B. K. Holzel, and M. I. Posner, “The neuroscience of mindfulness meditation,” Nature Reviews Neuroscience, vol. 16, no. 4, pp. 213–225, 2015.
- L.E. Carlson, S.N. Garland. Impact of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) on sleep, mood, stress and fatigue symptoms in cancer outpatients. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 12 (4) (2005)
- Goldberg SB, Tucker RP, Greene PA, et al. Mindfulness-based interventions for psychiatric disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Clin Psychol Rev. 2018;59:52–60.