I’ve talked about my meditation practice a LOT on my podcast, but I don’t think I’ve ever compiled a full list of its many benefits. Personally, meditation (aside from being sober) has been the best thing I’ve ever done for my health, and while I know it’s a buzz word in the wellness community, I truly believe in its healing abilities. I can speak from personal experience how much it’s improved my overall quality of life, but I like the facts to speak for themselves. Of course, there are many different types of meditation, but in general, here are are ten science-based benefits of meditation:
1. Reduces stress – One of the many reasons I started to meditate was to help with my stress – this study found that mindfulness meditation reduced the inflammation response caused by stress.
2. Controls anxiety – Research has shown that mindfulness meditation can reduce anxiety through mechanisms involved in the regulation of self-referential (me-centered) thought processes.
3. Enhances self-awareness – Many, have claimed that meditation has helped them develop a stronger understanding of themselves because meditation teaches you to recognize your thoughts and have greater awareness. Studies have also shown that meditation reduces loneliness and increases social connection.
4. Improves sleep – Meditation is a part of my nighttime routine, and for good reason. This study found that meditation appears to be a viable treatment option for adults with chronic insomnia and could provide an alternative to traditional treatments for insomnia.
5. Decreases blood pressure – Breathwork is taught in a lot of meditation practices, and this study found that the group who took deep breaths lowered their blood pressure compared to the group who did not take deep breaths. Ultimately, both meditation and deep breathing can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps slow your heart rate and lower blood pressure.
6. Improves concentration and attention – This study found that just a couple weeks of meditation practice helped people’s focus and memory while taking the GRE.
7. Can help with addiction – There have been several studies on meditation and its impact on addiction, and this study on smoking found that meditation training improved self-control capacity and produced a significant reduction in smoking of 60%.
8. Boosts your immune system – This study found that mindfulness meditation produces demonstrable effects on brain and immune function. These findings suggest that meditation may change brain and immune function in positive ways.
The bottom line is, meditation is easy, free and available to anyone anywhere. There is overwhelming evidence to support the many physical and emotional benefits of it, so why not give it a shot? You really have nothing to lose so let me know if you try it and what you think!