What are the benefits of meditation?By Linda Emslie on 17 June 2019
I have meditated on and off over the last 20 years, more “on” in recent years.
I started with simple “following the breath” and becoming familiar with the body offered by Shavasana at the end of my yoga practice, and progressed from there to guided visualisation, journey meditation and more recently Transcendental Meditation (TM).
My experience with meditation has shown me that when I meditate regularly, I feel less stressed and reactive. I am more connected with the joyful elements of my life, and am able to respond to situations in a way I choose, rather than being reactive. When I meditate daily, I feel more positive, energised, clear and focused. I sleep better and navigate the shifts and sways of menopause more easily. Who doesn’t want more of that in their life?
Benefits of meditation
Over and above this, research shows that meditation has specific, measurable positive effects in the body. These include:
- Reducing stress levels1
- Improving immune system function2, 3
- Improving recovery from exercise
- Lowering blood pressure4, 5
- Rebalancing the endocrine system6, 7
- Improving sleep8
- Slowing the ageing process9, 10
- Affecting gene expression.11
Meditation also benefits mind and emotions by:
- Improving focussed thinking and concentration12, 13
- Improving mood14
- Reducing feelings of depression and anxiety15, 16
- Increasing feelings of connection and compassion for the people around you.17
Meditation is a pathway for personal growth, providing avenues for:
- Developing an understanding of consciousness
- Developing an awareness of a higher or greater consciousness
- An integral part of the pathway to enlightenment.
Whether you are on a pathway to enlightenment or not, the benefits of meditation for improving your health and mental outlook are hard to ignore. If you just generally want to feel better, support your body's natural healing processes and stave off premature ageing, pull up a seat, close your eyes and teach yourself the art of stillness.
Looking for some easy guided visualisations to start with? Check out my playlist on YouTube.
Photo credit: Photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@moodywalk?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Moodywalk</a> on <a href="https://unsplash.com/search/photos/meditation?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Unsplash</a>