Benefits of Meditation: How Meditation Helps You

By meditating you become more aware, more alert and more attentive to the things, people and incidents around you. Similarly, you can become more aware of your emotions, what triggers these different emotions inside you. As you become familiar with these emotions and their causes, you develop a strong tendency of witnessing them and become more present minded and thus positive.

One simple method to meditate is to close your eyes and focus on breathing. For instance, as you meditate, breathe in the calmness and peace of mind, and breathe out all your stress and worries from the day. As you do this you can gain greater emotional awareness by being more familiar with the different thoughts, feelings, and sensations associated with each emotion. Meditation makes you feel these emotions in your body and heart and learn to have a greater connection with the emotions you want.

As Sadhguru Mentions about meditation:

1. Meditation Makes You Emotionally Strong:

study in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience suggests, practicing meditation changes the pattern how your mind deals with emotions in a positive way. But it needs a regular practice. With time you would learn controlling your emotions in a strong way. Many researches has proved this point.

Researchers from Boston University, the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies and many other institutes have found that meditation changes the way the amygdala (a part of the brain which helps in processing of emotions) responds to emotional stimuli. They also suggested that this happens not only when you are practicing meditation but other times too. Many people participated in the research. Participants underwent three eight-week courses:

  • First course was on alertness i.e. mindful attention meditation, where they practiced to be more alert, attentive and aware of their thoughts, emotions and of course breathing.
  • Second course was on kindness or compassion meditation, where they practiced to feel compassion and kindness to other human beings and themselves too.
  • The third and the final course was on general health information. Participants were provided with some sessions on general health information.

Then, they took 12 people from each group and they underwent MRI brain scans. Then participants were said to look at 216 images that were meant to provoke positive, neutral or negative emotions.  The researchers found that the participants who attended either of the two meditation courses experienced that amygdala has become less active in response to images that were meant to provoke negative feelings. This is a sign of coping with negative emotions like stress, depression and anxiety. On the other hand, participants who attended only the health information class experienced an increase in the activity of the amygdala in response to the same images.

2. It Literally Changes Brain Structures:

As I mentioned earlier, meditation makes your amygdala less active, resulting more control over your emotions. A study conducted in Harvard in 2011 had shown that meditation practiced over at least 8 weeks was enough to make changes in the brain’s structure. This study is based on Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). This is the method that I recommend to each and every individual to practice.

The people involved in the study reported spending an average of 27 minutes each day for Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction method. After a time of exact 8 weeks, their MR images were tested and the result was surprising. It was found that the density of their gray-matter in the hippocampus had increased significantly. It is a factor that improves your alertness, presence of mind, memory, learning abilities, self-awareness, compassion and introspection.

3. Makes Mind Your Slave:

Or should I say “Makes mind your slave again”. As Osho explains that mind is originally meant to be a slave. But because of the society and civilization, it has managed to become the mater. Your mind should work with you to make a better life not vice versa. If your life is according to your brain but not your heart then your are doing it wrong. Mindfulness meditation works well in the treatment of this disorder. You are the developer of your brain. Only you have made your brain the way it is. You have the power to build a better brain, a slave brain. All it takes is meditation.

4. Depression? What’s That?

In a study published in the journal Psychiatry Research, 70 participants with generalized anxiety disorder were randomly selected into two groups. One group were trained in mindfulness-based stress reduction method . The other group, acting as the control, did not receive any kind of meditation training.

The researchers found that participants who were given the training on mindfulness stress reduction method showed much lower levels of a specific bio-marker for stress in the body. This result shows that meditation changes the structure of mind and body in cellular level.

A study was conducted by cognitive psychologist Lorenza Colzato and Dominique Lippelt at Leiden University. 40 individuals took part in the study. There were all kind of people such as experienced, mediators and people who never practiced meditation before. The participants had to meditate for 25 minutes before doing their thinking tasks. The researchers found that the participants had much more improvement in their following abilities:

  • Divergent thinking (Ability to generate new ideas.)
  • Convergent thinking (process whereby one possible solution for a particular problem is generated.)

7. Reduces Pain:

Meditation teaches you how you can emotionally separate your way from your negative thoughts and physical sensations such as pain. By becoming a passive, impartial observer of your mind, suffering is no longer a function of pain. The pain is a simple sensation in the body, we label is “good” of “bad”. Meditation teaches you to become mindfully aware of just how much pain there truly is, and how much you aregenerating via your though processes. The difference is likely much bigger than you think.

8. Help You Get Rid of Addictions:

Be it coffee, tea or something as deadly as alcohol or drug, addiction to any of these could prove to be dangerous. It is indeed a situation that takes a toll over a person’s life. Though, initially it takes shape in the mind, it gradually takes over the body. However, if you wish to get rid of addiction, you would require challenging it head-on.

Meditation has proved to very effective, especially during drug withdrawal and detoxification when the mind undergoes mood swings and an eagerness to relapse. During this time, you have to recognize your true inner voice; you have to calm down the destructive voices that might prompt you to relapse. In fact, your chances of recovery increase significantly if you overcome these destructive voices.

One thing that needs to be borne in mind is that no one can force an addict into recovery. The addict has to be clear-headed. Though, medication has proved to be useful in regaining the health of an addict yet these so called wonder drugs used to treat addict leave a lot of side-effects, which may not just prove to be detrimental for the health of the patients in the long run but may also result in risk of relapse. Meditation is a very effective way to overcome the governing reactions that occur in your mind during detoxification and that too without any side effects.

When meditating, it is important to understand that one cannot get rid of addiction overnight. While meditation provides the inner strength and will power to get over addiction, support of friends and family provides the much-required motivation to fight away this evil.

9. Makes You Aware And Alert:

If you have read the every word of this article till now, you probably know that this is what meditation is all about. This is the fundamental consequence. At first we struggle as we are preoccupied by the thoughts of past and worried about what’s coming next. But then we take another breath and we are here, only here in this moment. Life is happening here and now. Everything else is just an imagination.

10. Improves Sleep Quality:

Practice meditation before bedtime. You can do it even after you lay down to sleep. Meditation will quiet the chit chats of your brain, vanish the thoughts in your mind. Lying down in your bed, breathing deep and focusing on your breath will clear your mind and lead you to the best sleep of your life. I practice meditation everyday, so very sleep is the best sleep of my life.

The simplest method that I recommend is given by Osho.You can focus on your deep breathing and start from one to ten every time you inhale. And then back to one from ten. Meanwhile you have to focus on every gap that takes place between inhalation and exhalation. Or you can also just focus on your breathing this will help your body and mind to relax and before you know it you will be sleeping. Your busy days are major cause for your inability to rest and go to sleep peacefully. You can take sleeping pill all you want but this is only temporary and what about the damage it will do to your body? For this, meditation is the best tool, nothing even comes closer.

11. Helps Maintain Blood Pressure:

It is a proven fact that, meditation tends to reduce the heart rate and the pace of our breathing. This becomes the reason for a number of positive effects, including lower blood pressure, increased stamina for sport and exercise, and a significant amount of reduction in the negative consequences of stress and anxiety.

  • When we meditate, our stress levels fall significantly causing less chances of depression and anxiety and all the organs within the body begin to normalize. This leads to a reduction in high blood pressure. This makes meditation the best natural way to help reduce high blood pressure.
  • Meditation makes you more sensible and present. I may encourage you to make a move towards a healthy lifestyle. Many people tend to adapt a healthy lifestyle, full of physical activities, yoga, adventure and fun. It is not true for everyone but this good thing might happen to you.
  • Robert Schneider, who is the Director of the Institute of Natural Medicine & Prevention, reported that people who have high blood pressure and have been meditating for more than three months, need 23% less medication blood pressure on average.

12. Helps You See The Things As They Are:

As we saw earlier that meditation makes you more aware of the moment. In other words, there is no other thought or perception floating in your mind. Meditation lets you see the true existence of life, it lets you see the things as they are in your experience. No perception, no theories, just your experience. You don’t have to act on what you think. The more you meditate, the more you take this mental freedom into your daily life.

What you do normally is preventing yourself from seeing the actual thing happening before you and from reacting to what is actually happening right now. It happens so quick that you don’t know the fact that you are wrong. It takes away your immediacy, vibrancy and effectiveness. To counteract it, we need to be present with open mind. This is where meditation comes to the picture. If you are a regular practitioner of meditation, your mind tends to be open, relaxed and alert or should I say you made your mind to behave like this.