There are so many benefits that come as a result of meditation. This article by Jonni Pollard points out 20 reasons to meditate. Have a look.
There are literally hundreds of commonly experienced and scientifically validated benefits of meditation. We’ve compiled the top twenty that will make you want to start meditating right now.
We’ve broken them up into two main categories – the physical health benefits and the psychological benefits.
Physical health benefits of meditation
- Meditation literally grows your brain… both in volume and thickness. This doesn’t just make you smarter; it increases your memory, attention, self-awareness, and self-control alongside a whole list of other desirable qualities.
- Meditation increases blood flow to your brain… the brain can’t function without a strong steady flow of blood to it. The stronger and steadier the flow, the better the brain functions.
- Meditation reduces cortisol production, a stress-induced hormone that suppresses the immune system and can make you feel anxious nervous and unsettled for no real reason (other than having too much cortisol in your system).
- Meditation reduces blood pressure and heart rate, which alleviates unnecessary pressure on your heart and arteries.
- Meditation increases neuroplasticity. This is the brain’s ability to organize itself, adapt to demands and enables you to become more efficient in the learning process.
- Meditation increases the production of good neurotransmitters including serotonin and dopamine, both of which play a huge role in controlling our moods. It’s understood that low levels of serotonin cause depression.
- Meditation triggers the parasympathetic nervous system, which enables us to rest and recover from stress.
- Meditation boosts the immune system. As we reduce our stress, the immune system is boosted and so is our general wellbeing.
- Meditation causes muscle relaxation. Muscle tension is generally caused by stress and when left unchecked can cause all kinds of problems such as vertebrae displacement, spinal issues and lack of mobility in the body.
- Meditation slows the aging process. Meditation significantly increases melatonin and DHEA and decreases cortisol, which has a significant impact on slowing the aging process down.
Psychological benefits of meditation
- Meditation reduces stress-related conditions such as anxiety and depression. When we meditate, the brain and nervous system undergo radical changes that cause the reduction and prevention of these conditions.
- Meditation increases stress resilience. When we are able to switch off the sympathetic nervous system (responsible for the fight or flight response) and trigger the parasympathetic nervous system (responsible for the relaxation response) on a regular basis, we are training our bodies to rapidly recover from the impact of stress. Over time the brain learns how to stablise the autonomic nervous system in everyday life without having to switch into the fight or flight response when faced with challenges or demands.
- Meditation increases positive emotions. There are a few reasons why this happens. The simplest reason is the reduction of stress. When we reduce the stress in our system we return to our natural state of feeling calm, connected to ourselves and confident in meeting the challenges of life. When we experience this it feels good and it shows!
- Meditation increases focus and present moment awareness. When we meditate, we stimulate the pre-frontal cortex. This is the front part of the brain that is responsible for concentration, focus and problem solving among many other important functions.
- Meditation increases emotional stability and intelligence. When we meditate regularly, and reduce our stress levels, our hormones balance out and we feel less reactive, less defensive and effortlessly balanced more of the time.
- Meditation increases your capacity to learn. By stimulating the pre-frontal cortex, we are also awakening the brains learning centre. More brain volume = more brain power.
- Meditation increases empathy and compassion. These 2 are such games changers in our world and scientific studies reveal that our ability to be compassionate and empathetic is really a brain game. Regular meditation rewires the brain and increases our ability to be able to consider the feelings and needs of others and how we could be of service.
- Meditation increases a sense of connection to your self and others. The more you meditate the more you become aware of who you are. When we allow the mind to go beyond those everyday levels of thinking we may get stuck in and experience deeper more expansive states of ourselves, this experience begins to inform us of our deep subtler nature. After a short while, we experience a more quiet, calmer and dynamic sense of who we are. Our relationships become deeper and more meaningful based on the simple principle, ‘the more you know your self the more you can know another’.
- Meditation increases your sense of purpose and meaning. The more you meditate the more you become aware of what you like and don’t like, what you are passionate about and what you aren’t. Regular meditation gives rise to clarity about what is important in life and a sense of confidence to make choices that enliven your passions and dissolve distractions. Life takes on greater meaning and you feel a deeper sense of purpose and satisfaction.
- Meditation improves sociability. Taking time out for yourself is really important but for us to live a full rich life, we need meaningful connections with others. Nervousness, anxiety and feeling down or disorientated can play a big role in not wanting to hang out with people. Meditation increases our ability to get out there and connect with others as a result of feeling more connected to ourselves and clearer and more confident about what is happening inside us.
Contrary to popular belief, the benefits of meditation are experienced in varying degrees immediately. Meditating every now and again is great and you will notice a change with each session you do. However, a regular daily practice of meditation is the key to experiencing the full force of these exponentially increasing benefits.