Meditation is an ancient practice that has been around for well over a millennium. With the extensive research that has been put into its reliability, it has started resurfacing in recent times as an anti-stress agent for people from all walks of life.
From improvements in the mood to increased brain functionality, the benefits of meditation are numerous, varied, and, most importantly, supported by science.
Benefits of Meditation
So, what improvements can you expect if you bring meditation into your life? Let's take a look.
The most common reason people start meditating is its astounding effects on stress, anxiety, depression, and overall mood. Meditation not only battles stress on an emotional level, but its regular practice has also proven to decrease the stress hormone cortisol.
Meditation affects the body by triggering the relaxation response that is opposite to stress. It brings the body to its calm, natural state. It also trains your mind to stop going into negative spirals when you're having anxious thoughts. With time and practice, both your body and mind become more resilient and calm.
This relaxation also decreases blood pressure, chances of heart problems, and several other physical illnesses. People who meditate regularly are generally happier than people who don't and exhibit better emotional attunement.
Better Focus and Concentration
In meditation, you focus on your breath or any other object of focus. This trains your brain to focus and concentrate more effectively, and the benefits of this increased brain power help you in other areas of your life as well.
People that meditate regularly have also experienced improvements in memory. This happens because meditation can lead to volume changes in the key areas of your brain.
Harvard found that mindfulness can change your brain's structure by increasing the cortical thickness in the hippocampus that is responsible for learning, memory and emotional regulation.
Furthermore, it decreases the size of amygdala, which is responsible for fear, anxiety and stress.
Improves Self-Esteem and Awareness
Meditation encourages you to slow down and allow deeper self-reflection. It increases your ability to examine your thoughts and feelings without judgment. At any moment, you are aware of what you're thinking and whether or not it's helpful.
With meditation, it becomes easier to get in the zone and "tune down your brain" of negative self-talk. By increasing your awareness, you now choose to keep a filter on your brain and allow only helpful and positive thoughts. This helps you be more confident and increase self-esteem with time.