In this fast-paced world, it is quite difficult to keep up with most things. Being updated with the recent changes in things, experiences and people could be stressful at times. Life, in general, has to undergo these changes over time, almost leaving you with not enough time in adjusting. These changes may affect you physically but most of all, mentally and emotionally. Moreover, it may result in constant disturbances in your thoughts and with how you process information. Such effects could then lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms that may be dangerous to your physical and mental health. However, meditation can prevent you from experiencing these negativities and train your mind to clear the thoughts that are causing you stress and anxiety. Learn more about the science behind meditation and how it benefits you below.
1. Decreases your stress levels
The stresses you experience from work, family, and others can affect your physical and mental health. This contributes to the increasing levels of the stress hormone or cortisol. This is part of the brain that manages your emotions such as mood, fear, and motivation. The adrenal glands that are located on top of your kidneys are the ones responsible for generating cortisol. The amount of cortisol is determined by your hypothalamus and pituitary gland. They sense your blood if it has the right amount of such hormone. The brain limits the amount of cortisol that you should have as your needs differ each day and the cortisol can shut down other functions in the body as a response to your needs. In situations where you experience extreme stress, it can prevent your cortisol from shutting the most important organs in your body. This would generate imbalances in your mental and physical stability and health problems.
To combat stress, meditation is the key. Numerous research has proven the outstanding effects meditation can bring to your body. Not only does it help clear out negative thoughts, but it also enables your brain to manage your organ systems in a way that each organ operates normally.
2. Reduces anxiety
As previously mentioned, meditation can help decrease levels of stress which are also the cause of your anxiety. Anxiety is a mental state that is associated with the incapability to control your emotional response when you encounter danger. Meditation improves this ability to manage your emotions by activating the anterior cingulate cortex, the one responsible for lowering anxiety levels. It has been discovered by numerous studies that meditation enables such capacity, making individuals regulate their emotions better.
3. Boosts your mental and emotional stability
Meditation can also improve the conditions of both your mental and emotional health by decreasing the symptoms of depression. Furthermore, shifting your negative mindset to focus on the brighter side of things is also developed. During meditation, the brain is trained to dissociate from that endless ringing voice that bothers you almost every time. This annoying ringing voice is what influences your perception of yourself. Meditation makes you realize that you do not have to endure listening to that voice and you can free your mind from it. When done regularly, it lets you deviate from all that negative thinking and focus more on believing in yourself. This is why meditation is connected to building one’s self-confidence and self-esteem.
4. Increases mindfulness
Several studies all over the world have confirmed the positive connection between mindfulness and better interpersonal relationships. When mindfulness is developed, it also helps in eliminating psychological bias. The tendency to form prejudice towards people are prevented, thus, avoiding discrimination against others. In addition, meditation helps reduce the practice of sunk-cost and negativity biases. Sunk-cost bias is the tendency to keep saying yes to everything, leaving you to invest in situations that put you at a disadvantage. Meanwhile, negativity bias or the notion that negative thoughts or situations weigh more than the opposite. Mindfulness, when done regularly, will help you remove these biases that greatly affect your perception of the world and the people around you.
5. Increases attention span
It may not come off as surprising whenever it is said that meditation influences attention since most meditation techniques focus on that specific skill. Research has shown that meditation helps in preventing habituation or the condition of paying attention to new information that randomly pops out within your surroundings. Likewise, it also contributes to lessening the tendency to inhibit task-unrelated thoughts and increase productivity as well as critical thinking.
6. Improves your memory
Meditation enables the blood flow to go smoothly in the brain resulting in improved memory recall. With meditation, it is discovered that it elevates the growth of the hippocampus. This is the part of the brain that deals with processing and retrieving memories. There are two types of memory: spatial relationships and declarative memories. Declarative memories are usually events, dates, or factual information while spatial relationships usually are directions or paths. It’s in the hippocampus where short-term memory emerges as long-term memory as time passes by.
7. Encourages kindness
Meditation lets you feel what others are feeling. It opens up your mind to understand what others are experiencing which influences your perception of them. Thus, meditation teaches you to be compassionate and empathetic towards people. These people do not have to be someone you know, it could be the people you see anywhere. Moreover, meditation generates our response to help people which is made possible by reducing the activity of the amygdala in the brain when it senses suffering or harm.
So, you’ve read the many benefits of meditation. It’s time to adopt this practice into your daily routine and surely, you will be witnessing the positive effects it can bring. There are multiple methods that you can try on and choose which suits you best. After all, you are responsible for your well-being. By incorporating healthy practices, you get to have the best version of yourself.