Meditation is a training process in training the mind to concentrate and direct thoughts.
Someone uses meditation as a means to better know themselves and their surroundings. For others, meditation is a method to reduce stress and learn to be happy. Meditation offers countless different benefits to your body, mind and spirit. The rest that you get during meditation is much deeper than the rest during the deepest sleep. The deeper you relax, the more dynamic your activity becomes.
Physical benefits of meditation
Learning meditation and mindfulness techniques and regularly practicing it assists our kids ’education and supports their efforts. Students can boost their mental working capacity and they would be able to prepare for the exams more effectively.
Meditation effects on the brain
Meditation tunes brain waves to the alpha rhythm that heals. The mind becomes fresh, refined and in excellent condition.
If you use it on regular practice, meditation benefits for the brain will be as:
- your anxiety and anxiety are reduced
- increased emotional stability
- improving creativity
- the state of joy prevails
- intuitive abilities develop
- you gain clarity and peace of mind
- problems lose their significance even before they enter your life
Meditation sharpens the mind by focusing on and expanding it through relaxation. Meditation helps you realize that the state of happiness is determined precisely by your inner mood, your position.
Benefits of daily meditation for cerebral hemispheres
One of the important effects of meditation is the balanced functioning of both cerebral hemispheres. Meditation has a great advantage over other types of practices in that with their help you can balance the work of the left and right hemispheres – this will add order to your life.
Usually, the activity of one of the hemispheres predominates. So, for more analytically oriented people, the left hemisphere dominates, which is responsible for logical thinking, verbal processes, and for those who are called artistic natures, the right hemisphere prevails. It is capable of intuitive perception of the outside world, and therefore it is associated, first of all, with creative processes, such as drawing, playing instruments, writing. Classes in energy and spiritual practices also belong to the right-hemisphere, because they are associated with the development of imagination, visualization ability, and other similar abilities.
Mindfulness meditation benefits for emotional background
Reducing stress is the most common reason people try to meditate. Usually, mental and physical stress causes an increase in the level of the hormone cortisol. This leads to sleep disturbance, depression and anxiety, high blood pressure, fatigue, and clouded thinking.
Chronic stress leads to inflammatory diseases. A study of mindfulness meditation found that regular practice of meditation reduces stress and eliminates the inflammatory processes it causes.
A large drop in cortisol under stress seems to kick in with continuous practice, so it’s easier to handle life’s upsets.
Benefits of daily meditation for the body
Meditation brings changes on a physical level – each cell of your body is filled with prana (vital energy). When the level of prana in the body increases, this leads to an increase in joy, calmness, and enthusiasm.
Physical effects of meditation on the body:
- lowers high blood pressure
- reduces the level of lactate (lactic acid) in the blood, eliminating anxiety attacks
- reduces pain associated with stress, such as headache (tensional), ulcer, insomnia, muscle, and joint pain
- increases the production of serotonin, which is responsible for good mood and social behavior
- strengthens the immune system
- increases energy level, because you get access to an internal energy source
Benefits of morning meditation in sleeping
It is known that meditation helps to regulate sleep and after you begin to meditate, you can get enough sleep in less time. Meditation provides at least short-term improvements, even for beginner meditators. For long practitioners who spend considerable time in meditation, the need for sleep is greatly reduced when compared with people from the same demographic group who do not meditate.
Studies of the effects of meditation on the human body
Rick Hanson PhD is confident that mindfulness goes very far by changing how your brain operates. He quotes the following in his book “Just one thing”:
“Studies have shown that regular practices of mindfulness:
- Thicken cortical layers in regions of the brain that control attention (Lazard et al, 2005)
- Add neural connections in the insula, a part of the brain that supports both self-awareness and empathy for the emotions of others (ibid)
- Increase the relative activation of the left prefrontal cortex, which helps control and reduce negative emotions (Davidson 2004)
- Strengthen your immune system (Davidson et al, 2003)
- Reduce the impact on pain and accelerate post-surgical recovery (Kabat-Zinn 2003; Kabat-Zinn, Lipworth Burney 1985”
Here is a huge list of benefits quoted in a wonderful book “The Science of Meditation” by Daniel Goleman and Richard J. Davidson:
- The first rigorous studies of how meditation affects attention were done by Amishi Jha et al., “Mindfulness Training Modifies Subsystems of attention” in Cognitive, affective and behavioral neuroscience. 7:2 (2007)”
- After 8 weeks of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program – better focus and attention. The program consists of mindfulness of breath, body sensations scan, attentive yoga and moment-to-moment awareness of thoughts and feelings. It’s a daily attention practice.
- Mindfulness also improves working memory: students up scores by more than 30% (Michael Mrazek et al., “Mindfulness Training Improves working memory capacity and GRE performance while reducing mind wandering” Psychological Science 24:5 (2013): 776-81)
- Just 3 x 10 minutes of meditations improve cognitive control. Mindfulness also improves working memory: students up scores by more than 30% (ibid)
- Better impulse inhibition went along with a self-reported uptick in emotional wellbeing. Cliff Saron’s study shows meditation improves the ability to inhibit impulse as stated by Bajinder K. Sahdra et al., “Enhanced response inhibition during intensive meditation predicts improvements in self-reported adaptive socioemotional functioning” Emotion 11:2 (2011): 299-312”. The study suggested 10 h of mindfulness over 2 week period.
- The brain’s default mode activates when we are doing nothing that demands mental effort -> we are constructing ‘self’. Mindfulness and loving-kindness meditation quiet the default mode circuit. It means that self-focused thoughts and feelings that arise in the mind have much less “grab” and decreasing ability to hijack attention.
- Mindfulness practice lessens inflammation day to day (not just during meditation). Benefits show up after just 4 weeks of mindfulness practice (~30hrs) as well as loving-kindness as quoted by E. Walsh “Brief Mindfulness Training Reduces Salivary, IL-6, and TNF-α in young women with depressive symptomatology” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 84:10 (2016) and T.W. Pace et al., “Effect of Compassion Meditation on Neuroendocrine, Innate Immune and Behavioural Responses to Psychological Stress” Psychoneuroimmunology 34 (2009): 87-98)
- A large drop in cortisol under stress seems to kick in with continuous practice, so it’s easier to handle life’s upsets.
- Unemployed job seekers showed reduced destructive self-talk that floods us with thoughts of hopelessness and depression -> how we relate to our gloomy self-talk has a direct impact on our health.
- Meditation helps with high blood pressure. Just 14 minutes of meditation practice in a group who suffered from kidney disease, cardiac or hypertension lowered the metabolic patterns that lead to these diseases. It was stated by Jeanie Park et al., “Mindfulness in African-American Males with Chronic Kidney Disease”, American Journal of Physiology 307:1 (July 1, 2014)
- Meditators have shown the “down-regulation” of inflammatory genes. Such drop, if sustained, might help combat diseases with onset marked by chronic low-grade inflammation. These include cardio disorders, arthritis, diabetes, and cancer.
- Loneliness spurs high levels of pro-inflammatory genes. MBSR can not only lower these levels but also lessen the feeling of being lonely, as quoted by J.D. Creswell et al., “Mindfulness-based stress reduction training reduces loneliness and pro-inflammatory gene expression in older adults: a small randomized control trial” Brain, Behaviour, and Immunity 26 (2012).
- Mindfulness associated with increased telomerase activity, in the work of N.S. Schutte and J.M. Malouff “A meta-analytic review of the effects of mindfulness meditation on telomerase activity” Psychoneuroendocrinology 42 (2014).
Start your meditation practice today with our simple instructions on concentration meditation (on breathing) or develop your regular meditation practice with our Insight Meditation (vipassana) instructions. Please get back in touch if you want to suggest a piece of research that we’ve missed or you have any questions.