- Stress Reduction
One of the main reasons why people get into meditation is because they want to reduce their stress.
There haven't been a lot of studies on the effect of meditation, but until now every study suggests that meditation does indeed reduce stress.
Of course, mental stress and physical stress induce an increase of cortisol, the stress hormone. That produces a lot of the damaging side effects of stress, which is the release of the inflammatory chemicals called cytokines.
These effects could disrupt sleeping patterns, increase depression and anxiety, also increase blood pressure and contribute on the increase of tiredness and cloudy thinking.
In a study that was conducted for eight weeks, a type of meditation called "mindfulness meditation" reduced the inflammation that was caused by stress.
Also, the study showed that meditation could improve the symptoms that were related with stress, including fibromyalgia, the deterioration of post-traumatic stress, and irritable bowel syndrome
- Anxiety Mastery
Meditation can reduce the levels of stress which directly corelates to the reduction of anxiety.
An analysis that includes more than one thousand adults found out that meditation can reduce anxiety. This effect was stronger at people with higher levels of anxiety.
Also, it was found out by a study that 2 months of meditation helped people with anxiety disorder by reducing anxiety symptoms, there was also an increase of positive self-affirmations and also helped with an increase of stress reactivity and stress management.
Some other study that was conducted with 47 people with chronical pain found out that after an eight-week meditation program there were visible improvements on pain, depression and anxiety throughout a year.
To add to that, some research suggests a diversity of meditation exercises could lower anxiety levels.
Yoga, for example has been shown to help people with anxiety reduction. This is because of the benefits from the combination of physical activity and meditation practice.
A better control of work anxiety could also be helped and improved by meditation. A study found out that workers that used a meditation app for 2 months, felt improve feelings of wellbeing and a decrease of worry and job tension.
- Improved emotional health.
A lot of types of meditation could lead to an improved self-image and a more outlook on life.
An evaluation of the treatments that were given to more than 3000 adults, discovered that meditation improved the symptoms of depression.
In a similar way, an examination of 18 studies showed that the people who took meditation therapy felt reduced symptoms of depression.
Another study discovered that people who did a meditation exercise felt fewer negative thoughts in response to looking at negative images.
Also, inflammatory chemicals called cytokines, which are released as a response to stress, could have an effect on our feelings, which could send us to depression. An evaluation of some studies suggests that meditation could also reduce depression by reducing the levels of these inflammatory chemicals.
- Increased self-awareness.
Some types of meditation could help us have a stronger understanding of ourselves.
Self-examination meditation for example can in an explicit way help us have a much bigger understanding of ourselves and how we connect with others around us.
Different forms of meditation could help us separate damaging or self-damaging thoughts. The idea is that as much self-awareness as we have about our thinking habits, the more we can direct our thinking toward more constructive ways.
Reviewing 27 studies showed that practicing tai-chi could be connected with improvement of self-efficiency, a term which is used to describe the belief of a person on their ability to overcome challenges.
In other studies, where more than 100 adults used a meditation app for 14 days, reported reduced feeling of loneliness and an increase of social contact.
Also, meditation experience could be translated into more creative abilities in solving problems.
- An increase of attention span.
Focused meditation is just like weightlifting for your attention span. It helps with improving the strength of our attention.
It was found out by a study that people who heard a meditation tape, could feel an improved attention while they were finishing a task.
Another study showed that people who practiced meditation on a regular basis could perform much better on visual tasks and had a much bigger attention span than those without previous meditation practice.
To add to that, another study arrived at the conclusion that meditation could change brain models that contribute to mind wandering, weak attention and worry.
Also, even if we meditate for a shorter period every day, that also could bring benefits. Even meditating for 10 minutes a day could improve memory and attention after 2 months.
- Can help to drop addictions.
Through meditation we could create a mental discipline which could help us give up addictions by having more control of ourselves, and by being more aware of the reasons behind the addiction.
A study of more than 50 people who were being treated for alcohol abuse disorder, found out that practicing meditation, could lower stress, the psychological worry and the craving of alcohol, also the usage of alcohol decreased after 13 weeks
Meditation also helps us to control our uncontrollable food cravings. The study also found out that meditation helped reduce emotional eating.
- Better sleep
Almost half of humans have suffered from some form of insomnia.
A study which compared different meditation programs, discovered that those who meditated had longer and much more qualitative sleep.
Having meditation experience could help us control the thoughts that lead us to a lack of sleep.
Moreover, meditation can relax our body, release tension and make us achieve a peaceful state, which helps us to fall asleep easier.
Meditation is something that can help us improve our mental and emotional help, if we practice regularly.
We can do it everywhere, it's very accessible.
There’re also different types of meditation, all of them with different kind of benefits.
Choosing a meditation form or style depends on the person trying it. We should try the styles that we like and that we feel most comfortable with.