10 Health Benefits of Meditation
Meditation is an ancient practice with its roots in India dating back thousands of years. Although scientists in the West have only recently begun to examine what meditation can do for your health, it’s becoming increasingly clear what Eastern philosophers and yogis have known for millennia: meditation is good for you. Here are 10 health benefits of meditation.
- Meditation relieves stress
We all experience stress in our day-to-day lives. But chronic stress – stress that lasts for a prolonged period of time – has been connected to a host of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity and depression. While we can’t avoid every situation that causes stress, we can control how we respond to our stress. Meditation helps you manage stress by releasing tension in your body, quieting your mind and helping you accept that there are things you can’t control.
- Meditation improves your mental health
Stress is a major trigger for anxiety and depression, so when meditation helps you get your stress under control, it also helps reduce anxiety and depression. Meditation has also been shown to help manage post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental illnesses such as eating disorders and addiction.
- Meditation can reduce pain
When you’re in pain, you don’t just feel the sensation of being hurt – you may also feel angry, sad, scared or anxious. That’s because pain isn’t only something we experience physically – it has psychological and emotional elements as well. This is especially true for chronic pain, or pain that lasts three months or more. But studies have found that meditation can reduce pain in people with MS, cancer, fibromyalgia and other forms of chronic pain by helping them manage the emotions they experience with their pain.
- Meditation can reduce the symptoms of some illnesses and diseases
While we can’t say meditation is a cure-all, it has shown promise in treating some illnesses and diseases, including IBS, diabetes and heart disease. And headache sufferers can rejoice with this news: meditation has been shown to reduce the length and frequency of migraines.
- Meditation is good for your heart
Not only can meditation lessen the symptoms of heart disease, it may also help prevent it. As you relax in meditation, your blood pressure drops and your heart rate and breathing slow. These effects can last long after you get up and go about your day. With a regular meditation practice, they may work to keep heart disease at bay. Meditation has even been shown in studies to reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke.
- Meditation makes you younger
It may not be “the fountain of youth,” but meditation does appear to offer some protection from aging. Scientists don’t understand all that goes on in the body as we age, but we know that as we grow older, we lose grey matter in our brains, and our telomeres – the protective ends of our DNA – shorten. Yet several studies have found that people who meditate have more grey matter in their brains, and that meditation can increase the number and length of your telomeres.
- Meditation can boost your immunity
Your immune system is what protects your body from viruses, bacteria and other sources of infection, and studies have found that meditation can increase the body’s production of two key parts of the immune system: antibodies and T-cells. In one study, meditation even slowed the progression of HIV.
- Meditation helps you sleep better
A good night’s rest is essential for your health, yet according to the CDC, one in three adults don’t get enough sleep. Meditation can fight insomnia and sleep trouble by helping your body relax and calming your mind before you hit the sack.
- Meditation can help you get in shape
It’s no substitute for a healthy diet and exercise, but there is evidence that meditation helps regulate your metabolism, meaning your body can do a better job of converting food into energy. Meditation can also make you more mindful of what, when and why you eat, which can help those who struggle with emotional eating and binge eating.
- Meditation makes you feel good
Ever hear the saying “happy people live longer?” Although happiness alone might not be enough to extend your lifespan, studies show that happy people are healthier. And that’s good news for those who meditate, because meditation can actually make you happier.
Meditation isn’t a magic bullet, but it’s one way you can better your health starting today. At SHYFT at Mile High, we offer a range of classes and events so you can make meditation and mindfulness a part of your lifestyle. Check out our class schedule and join us – no need to pre-register!