Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years. Its enduring popularity is no accident. Here are nine reasons why it continues to be so prevalent, and why you might want to consider taking up a daily meditation routine too.
1. Reduce Stress
We live in stressful times. The television and newspapers are full of bad news. As a society we're working harder than ever, and there always seems to be something new to worry about. Taking a short break each day to calm the mind with meditation is a proven way to reduce stress.
2. Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease
A 2012 study involving 200 patients categorized as being at high risk of heart disease showed that daily meditation reduced blood pressure as well as stress. These effects combined to reduce the risk of a heart attack by 48%.
3. Improve Focus
It's hard to concentrate on anything when your head is full of competing ideas, thoughts, worries, and concerns. A few minutes each day spent meditating calms the mind. A tranquil and ordered mind leads to clarity of thought and an improved ability to focus. Meditation can even help manage ADHD by reducing hyperactivity and impulsivity.
4. Increase Your Pain Threshold
Pain is your brain's way of interpreting certain signals from your nervous system. Regular meditation gives you greater control over your own mind, including how you process those pain signals. In other words, meditation can give you the power to tolerate higher levels of pain.
5. Improve Your Memory
Just as routine exercise makes your muscles stronger, meditation can make your brain stronger. It has been shown that meditating regularly brings about physical changes in the brain, particularly in the areas associated with memory and self-awareness.
6. Become More Creative
Regular meditation leads to more creative thinking. We often associate creativity with great art, but it's also about coming up with solutions to problems. Improved creativity can help in all areas of life.
7. Physical Health Benefits
We've already seen that meditation lowers blood pressure and stress and how that can have a positive impact on cardiac health. But these health gains aren't limited to the cardiovascular system. Regular practitioners of meditation are also at less risk from asthma, arthritis, bowel disease, and cellular inflammation. Meditation can even help manage pre-menstrual tension and treat symptoms of the menopause.
8. Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer's
Research published in the Brain, Behavior and Immunity journal suggests that half an hour of meditation each day reduces the risk of falling prey to Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.
9. Improve Emotional Wellbeing
As if the physical benefits of meditation weren't enough, there are emotional advantages to be gained too. The practice of mindfulness or meditation improves self-awareness, increases compassion, reduces feelings of loneliness, and even improves mood.
A Healthy Investment
With so many physical, emotional, and mental benefits to be gained, a few minutes taken out of each day to meditate is one of the best investments you can make. You'll be healthier, stronger, and happier.