There are many types of meditation that are available for practice. But, there is one thing in common among all of them — meditation offers multi-folded benefits that help your mind, body and soul. If you are sceptical about the benefits of meditation, we have some validation for you.
In 2011, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) released findings that explained the after-effects of meditation in most people. It activated the anterior cingulate cortex and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, which means it helped in creating an analgesic effect. Meditation training also results in an increase in the amount of grey matter in the hippocampus and parietal lobe. Other neural changes resulted in increasing the efficiency of attentional control.
While this provides scientific proof, we have listed some of the direct benefits that you could enjoy as a result of meditation.
Benefits of Meditation
To help you understand the benefits of meditation, we have categorized them into physical benefits, mental benefits, and spiritual benefits.
Physical Benefits of Meditation
Meditation activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which soothes the body and lowers heart rate, reduces blood pressure, decreases stress hormones (like adrenaline and cortisol), decreases respiratory rate, improves digestion, boosts immunity, and increases lifespan.
Interestingly, meditation also seems to help in weight reduction as it promotes mindful eating and not just binge eating. This process of calming also activates the pituitary gland and activates relaxing, sleep hormones that promote a peaceful sleep. Medical studies have used meditation in the treatment of insomnia patients, which has helped them recoup faster.
Mental Benefits of Meditation
Meditation of any type begins by working on the brain. Hence, the first response to this activity is the feeling of calmness. Some methods encourage you to apply deliberate focus while some use totems and mantras that will help you channelize your energies in a single direction. This helps in processing your thoughts towards a unified direction, dismiss stress, and anxiety. It also helps people suffering from ADHD in having a more productive and focused day.
Scientists noticed that the parts of the brain that activate empathy were high among monks who meditate regularly. Even, new meditation practitioners have notified that they feel happy and peaceful after each meditation session. However, the mental benefits of meditation are unique to each person.
Spiritual Benefits of Meditation
It is noted that many people who stay grounded with their personal values excel within their line of work. There is scientific evidence that people who meditate often let go of emotions such as anger, hatred, jealousy, anxiety, insecurity and so on. They are replaced by more positive emotions such as love, compassion, empathy, kindness and others.
With more positive values emerging out to of regular practice of meditation, people have developed a more poised and collaborative social behaviour. Apart from emotional upliftment, practitioners have reported a lot of deeper experiences that can be called as the spiritual benefits of meditation.