Scientific Benefits of Meditation: What the Research Tells Us

Meditation is a mind and body practice that has long been used to increase calmness and physical relaxation; improve psychological balance; help people to cope with illness and enhance overall health and well-being. Meditation is often seen as a spiritual practice and, as a result, it can be difficult to think of it as something with proven, scientific benefits. However, the reality is, meditation has real, physical effects on your mind and body.

The popularity of meditation is increasing as more people discover its benefits. Many people think of it as a way to reduce stress and develop concentration while others use the practice to develop beneficial habits and feelings, such as a gaining a positive mood and outlook, achieving self-discipline, having healthy sleep patterns and even increasing pain tolerance.

Even big companies like Google, Salesforce, Aetna, Goldman Sachs Group, Blackrock and Bank of America are offering mindfulness training for employees. They are using this ancient practice to improve leadership skills and collaboration and to decrease healthcare costs.

Many studies have looked at how meditation may be helpful for a variety of conditions, such as high blood pressure, psychological disorders and pain.

A number of studies have even helped researchers learn how meditation might work in relation to its effects on the brain. Some research suggests that practicing meditation may reduce blood pressure, the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

Here are some of the many benefits of meditation:

1.Physical Benefits of Meditation

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Lowers heart rate
  • Has an anti-inflammatory effect
  • Strengthens the Immune System

- It helps in the digestion of food

- Can ease premenstrual and menopausal symptoms

2. Psychological Benefits of Meditation

  • Meditation helps you sleep better
  • Reduces anxiety and stress
  • Regulates mood disorders
  • Improves self-esteem
  • Can help treat addiction
  • Increases self-awareness
  • Helps reduce anger

3. Cognitive Benefits of Meditation

  • Improves working memory
  • Increases focus
  • Increases stress resistance
  • Improves the ability to make decisions
  • Improves memory

4. Social Benefits of Meditation

  • Decreases feelings of loneliness
  • Helps you to be more compassionate
  • Helps create positive relationships

Meditating daily is easier said than done, however, as little as one minute a day is highly beneficial. To give yourself a head start, follow this pattern:

  • Breathe in for five seconds
  • Hold your breath for five seconds
  • Breathe out for five seconds
  • Continue moving through this practice for a full minute.

Meditation really can be as easy as that!