You’re probably aware of meditation’s power to relieve stress, centre your mind, and create a sense of calm and wellbeing. But there are others that aren’t talked about as often. These seven benefits of meditation may just provide the extra motivation you need to finally make some room in your schedule.
Meditation makes you less sensitive to pain
Do you suffer from chronic pain? What if you could lessen the severity of your daily aches? A new study in the Journal of Neuroscience suggests meditation could be more effective than painkillers at cutting down on pain, and that could save you hundreds in prescription drug costs¹.
Participants underwent four 20 minute sessions of meditation training. They reported an average 40 percent reduction in pain intensity and an average 57 percent reduction in pain unpleasantness. To put that into perspective, morphine and other pain-relieving drugs usually reduce pain perception and unpleasantness by just 25 percent.
Improves your self-esteem
I’m sure you agree you can be pretty hard on yourself sometimes, right? That limiting belief you created when you were just a little child is all in your head. I know I’ve done that plenty of times.
Regular meditation allows you to take a step back from your thoughts. Rather than beating yourself over any negative thoughts, meditation helps you acknowledge them without judgement and move on.
It helps analyse yourself objectively. A study in the journal Psychological Science shows that meditation can help us conquer common “blind spots”, which can amplify or diminish our own flaws beyond reality².
Boosts your immune system
Are you starting to feel a flu come on? Better grab your meditation mat as regular meditation strengthens your immunity. A new study from the University of Wisconsin–Madison found that adults who practiced mindful meditation for eight weeks suffered less from seasonal ailments during the following winter³.
The primary reason why meditation benefits your immune system is it decreases stress. When you focus in meditation, you release stressful thoughts and remove yourself from the daily pressures and demands on your body, mind, and emotions. This creates a more positive state, increasing oxygen uptake and blood flow, while allowing feelings of relaxation, love, trust, and well-being to permeate.
Improve your relationships
Do you know someone who is constantly negative and complains at every opportunity they get? Those kinds of relationships are draining, right? The trouble is, this habit of negativity is so easy to adopt and you’ll often find yourself in a similar state. The good news is regular meditation encourages emotional resilience. It allows you to correct and repair unpleasant moods more quickly so you’re available for the next good thing.
Meditation also makes you less prone to stress and anger. It’s like resetting your body’s “alarm” button when it’s gotten stuck in the “ON” position.
Improve focus and productivity
When you make a habit of intentionally concentrating on something (your thoughts, your breathing, your body) for an extended time during meditation, your brain gets in the habit of focusing on a singular task. Information overload makes us prone to distractions, and therefore less productive. A 2014 study found that interruptions as brief as just two to three seconds were enough to double the number of errors participants made on an assigned task³.
Meditation helps you with laser-like focus so when it’s time for work, you’re less likely to switch tabs every 30 seconds. You’ll waste less time and get more done.
Slows cognitive decline
Does Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s run in your family? Meditation is effective both as a preventative measure and as therapy for those already experiencing these degenerative diseases. Studies show that higher stress levels are linked to a greater risk and faster progression of the conditions, but meditation has a positive impact on cognitive function. A review of 12 research papers concluded that meditation could very well slow age related cognitive decline. It found that meditation may be able to offset normal age-related cognitive decline or even enhance cognitive function in older adultsˆ.
Anyone who suffers from acne or psoriasis will love this one. Your brain has an enormous influence over your body. It’s responsible for regulating the hormones and chemicals coursing through you every day. Research indicates that stress plays a role in triggering these inflammatory skin problems, and meditation helps minimise it°.
Even if you only set aside 10 minutes a day, the key is consistency. Make meditation a habit and you’ll start to experience these perks in no time.
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