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Understanding Meditation

Meditation is a practice through which you can train your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts in a slow and habitual manner. It helps increase awareness about yourself as well as your surroundings. Often, people use meditation as a means to reduce their stress and concentrate better.

Meditation provides several other benefits such as putting you in a good mood, encouraging healthy sleep patterns, self-discipline, and increasing tolerance for pain. Meditation also lowers blood pressure, reduces stress as well as symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Benefits of Meditation

There are several benefits of meditation that are being discovered. Other than being great for your physical health, meditation is also good for your mental and spiritual well being. Here are some of the benefits of meditation-

  • Reduce Stress:

The most common reason why people take to meditation is the reduction of stress. Stress can cause a surge in the cortisol hormone which has harmful effects like the release of chemicals that inflame like cytokines.

Because of such disruptions, an individual may feel anxiety and depression, an increase in blood pressure, disturbed sleep and fatigue. By extension, meditation can also reduce the symptoms of stress-related problems like irritable bowel syndrome (IS), fibromyalgia and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

  • Control Anxiety:

Meditation can also control levels of anxiety. According to studies, meditation may lower anxiety in those who experience the highest levels of it. Those suffering from generalised anxiety disorders (GAD) can ease their symptoms through meditation. Meditation, along with the benefit of mindfulness can reduce overall levels of anxiety.

Meditation trains the mind to focus on the present instead of anxious thoughts. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is a therapy program involving mindful meditation that helps ease an individual's mind and reduce the symptoms of depression.

  • Helps Fight Addictions:

Meditation can help you develop mental discipline and not be dependent on things that are bad for you. It increases self-control and makes you aware of things that trigger addictive behaviour. The practice of meditation can help you direct your attention to other things, manage your impulses and emotions.

The power of meditation is that those who meditate experience lower stress levels, lesser psychological distress, and alcohol cravings. Just like helping manage alcohol addiction, meditation can also steer you away from excessive food cravings. It reduces emotional eating and binge eating.

  • Improves Sleep:

Meditation programmes that are based on mindfulness help people deal with insomnia. According to a study, those who practised meditation tended to sleep for longer and had less severe insomnia. Insomnia can be caused by unorganised, racing thoughts that lead to loss of sleep. It also helps relax your body and releases tension so that you enter a state of peacefulness and fall asleep easily.

  • Controls Pain:

By meditating daily, people can control pain since it is connected to the state of mind. People who experience chronic pain can meditate to lower pain, raise their quality of life and lower symptoms of depression.

  • Decrease Blood Pressure:

High blood pressure can force the heart to work harder to pump blood. It also aggravates atherosclerosis, which is a narrowing of arteries that can lead to stroke or a heart attack. In patients with high blood pressure, meditation is found to have reduced it. Meditation controls blood pressure by relaxing nerve signals and blood vessel tension along with coordinating heart function. It also relaxes the fight-or-flight response.

Spiritual and Mental benefits

  • Promotes emotional health:

Meditation can help you improve your self-image and have a more positive perspective of life. It reduces symptoms of depression, and those who practice meditation have fewer negative thoughts. Cytokines are inflammatory chemicals that can potentially lead to depression. Meditation can reduce levels of such inflammatory chemicals.

  • Enhances Self-Awareness and Self-Esteem:

Those who meditate have a stronger understanding of themselves, which can help personal growth. Some forms of meditation can help you identify harmful and self-defeating thoughts and move towards more constructive thoughts. It also brings down feelings of loneliness and raises social contact. It can also help you improve creative problem-solving.

  • More Attention Span and Concentration:

Some forms of meditation can help cultivate a longer attention span. Meditation improves the strength and duration of your attention span and can help you carry out tasks more attentively and accurately. Patterns of mind-wandering, poor attention and worrying can be reversed through meditation.

Benefits of Meditation for Students

Students face various types of pressures in their everyday lives. These pressures could have a negative effect on their mental and physical wellbeing. However, there are many advantages of meditation for students. It can help them boost their confidence in their studies as well as social life. It also gives students more clarity and focus. Students who meditate can experience better health, along with more energy, dynamism and mental strength.

Types of Meditation

There are various different types of meditation that have different effects on the health of the person. Here’s a look at some of them—

  • Mindfulness Meditation:

This type of meditation allows you to be present with your thoughts and fully aware. It is a versatile type of meditation that can be done anywhere by simply closing your eyes and breathing.

  • Transcendental Meditation:

This meditation is a simple technique in which a personalised mantra is repeated in a specific manner. It can be practised for 20 minutes every day.

  • Guided Meditation:

Under this method, a guide or teacher asks you to form mental pictures or visualise a certain situation. The teacher guides you through the process and often suggests that you use your senses to create a relaxing space.

  • Vipassana Meditation:

This ancient Indian meditation method is meant to encourage self-transformation via self-observation. The physical sensations of the body are disciplined so that a connection between the body and mind is created. In this way, vipassana meditation benefits can be enjoyed by individuals.

  • Loving-Kindness Meditation:

Also called metta meditation, this is practised by wishing well for others. Under this, practitioners recite specific phrases that bring about warm-hearted feelings.

  • Yoga Meditation:

There are a number of yoga styles and asanas that involve breath control exercises to calm the mind. Yoga promotes physical as well as psychological wellbeing.

  • Chakra Meditation:

Chakra meditation consists of relaxation techniques that bring about the wellbeing of the seven chakras in the body as well as balance. Some of the techniques involve visualising the chakras.

Everyday Ways to Practice Meditation

Here are some tips using which you can practice meditating every day:

  • Meditate first thing in the morning because it is a great way to start your day.

  • Try to meditate at the same time in the same place daily. This will create a regular, lasting habit.

  • When you cannot stick to your daily meditation spot, get creative and find a place wherever you may be.

  • You need not sit cross-legged if it is uncomfortable for you. You can meditate in any position that is the most comfortable.

  • When you are meditating, breathe naturally. Although you may be required to focus on your breathing, let it not distract you.

  • You may experience anxiety, irritation, restlessness and overall discomfort while meditating. However, instead of resisting these feelings, it is better to be attentive towards them, albeit without getting caught up in negative thoughts.

  • Try to carry the mindfulness cultivated during your meditation session with you in all other daily activities.

Conclusion

Meditation has a number of proven physical and mental health benefits. Whether you have trouble focusing, want to reduce stress or are dealing with depression, pain or addiction, meditation can be the right call for you. You can further take the aid of a health insurance plan that helps you manage the burden of a medical condition when you deal with the medical expenses around the treatment.

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FAQs on The Benefits of Meditation

  • ✔️What is meditation used for?

    Meditation can reduce the areas of anxiety, chronic pain, depression, heart disease and high blood pressure.

  • ✔️Is meditating for 5 minutes enough?

    To meditate for only 5 minutes a day is not enough. But 5 minutes are best for beginners. You must meditate for 20–30 minutes. By meditating, you can increase your physical and mental ability.

  • ✔️How long should beginners meditate?

    Start small, with three to five minutes (or less).

  • ✔️Can meditation be dangerous?

    No, meditation is not dangerous.

  • ✔️How long does it take for meditation to work?

    With a daily practice of 10 to 20 minutes, you should see positive results from within a few weeks to a couple of months.