5 Life-Changing Benefits of Meditation
While meditation often comes with the connotation of hippies, new age movements, or religious types, it has been researched quite extensively by the scientific and medical communities within the last ten years or so. The results are encouraging, showing numerous enhancements that people of any lifestyle can benefit from. Here are 5 life-changing benefits you can gain by meditating.
Studies have shown that meditation increases daily experiences of positive emotions and also changes brain function in positive ways. These effects then result in a heightened feeling of purpose and increased satisfaction in life. Study participants who meditated also showed having more compassion and more empathy, which are important factors in emotional wellbeing, than those who did not.
Meditation doesn’t just make you happier overall, it also can be an active way to treat some mental health issues. Studies have been conducted to research the effects meditation has on depression, anxiety, stress, and more, and it has shown to be effective with each. Participating in meditation reduces symptoms, increases self-compassion, and results in improved quality of life. A three year follow up also proved meditation’s long-term effects which supports its true capabilities.
Meditation can actually reduce the experience of pain sometimes by about 40% because the areas of the brain which process pain are activated during meditation. This can in turn decrease a dependence on narcotics as well for those with chronic pain. Also, multiple studies have shown meditation to be an effective way to decrease inflammation at the cellular level. This is especially important in relation to diseases such as cancer, stroke, and Alzheimer’s which are related to inflammation.
A study conducted to look into immune support showed that meditation may specifically reduce stress-induced immune responses. Another corroborated this with results suggesting that meditation does have a positive effect on immune function.
Meditation has been linked to many improvements in brain power including better ability to focus attention and concentrate and a better working memory. These aren’t just behavioural improvements either. Meditation has been shown to actually change the connectivity in our brain’s different networks for the better.
Clearly the benefits of meditation are worth trying it out, and it’s easier to begin practicing meditation than it may seem. Even beginners see the results of their practice, and the skill will only continue to be developed over time. Daily time constraints don’t have to be a deterrent either. Most of these studies were conducted with participants who practiced meditation for as little as 5 minutes to upwards of 30 minutes a day. There’s no detriment in starting small. There are many simple guided meditations you can use online or on your phone through an app to get you started in the right direction.
We offer a Mindfulness Training workshop (for employees, but it is open to anyone) that shows you how meditation can immediately benefit both your personal and professional life. You will learn to be aware of the present moment and achieve contentment, increase clarity, and better focus your attention. Contact us for more information about this workshop and look at our flyer under the ‘Workshops’ toolbar.
This blog post was written by:
Nicole Ripley, BA Psyc, M.Couns
Registered Clinical Counsellor (#10535)
Okanagan Clinical Kelowna Counselling Services
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