Reduce The Risk of Life-Threatening Illnesses with One Simple Activity: Meditation
What is meditation? Does it require you to delve deep into the depths of Thailand or Bali in order to embrace an Elizabeth Gilbert-like quest? Not at all! In fact, meditation is one of the simplest activities to do, and requires little preparation. Not only that, but it's time and location-independent, meaning that you can participate in this helpful practice anywhere and at anytime.
But why do we engage in meditation? Yes, you've most likely heard that it is a way to induce a more relaxed and peaceful state, but in actuality, the benefits are way more than that. In fact, practicing meditation can give you a boost not only mentally, but also physically, and emotionally.
Here, a list of science-based benefits that are easily obtainable via the art of meditation.
1. Meditation Increases Mindfulness and Decreases Depression
A study was conducted in Belgium by Professor Filip Raes on around 400 students, ranging from 13 to 20 years old. In it, some students received an in-class mindfulness program focusing on meditation while others did not. The results showed that those who practiced mindfulness meditation felt less stress and depressive-like symptoms six month later than those who did not engage in this activity.
Additionally, it was found that those who practiced mindfulness showed a change in their thought process which, in turn, reduced the occurrence of dysfunctional beliefs that they may have had in the past.
2. Meditation Reduces Symptoms of Panic Disorder
A study was conducted and published in the American Journal of Psychiatry that showed the effects that meditation had on patients living with a panic or anxiety disorder. 22 patients were given the opportunity to spend three months practicing meditation, relaxation, and learning about mindfulness. After, it was found that these patients felt a substantial reduction in panic and anxiety.
3. Meditation Increases your Emotional Intelligence
During an experiment, 16 people underwent an MRI scan after having experienced an eight-week course of mindfulness and meditation. The MRI, conducted by Harvard neuroscientists, showed that the participants' grey matter in the brain had increased. Grey matter is responsible for learning, memory, regulating emotions, and having a more realistic and positive perspective.
4. Meditation Can Make You Kinder to Yourself and Others
It was found that those who engaged regularly in Metta meditation (commonly known as loving-kindness meditation) showed a more positive thought process, had more compassion and empathy for themselves and for others, and experienced less social anxiety and feelings of anger.
In order to engage in Metta meditation, sit comfortably with your eyes closed and imagine the things that you want for your life. It really is that simple!
5. Meditation Helps Fight Addiction
Those who practice meditation feel a stronger sense of self-control which, in turn, can play a big role in addiction. It can assist in re-directing one's attention, increasing willpower, and controlling one's impulsive nature and habits. In fact, a study on 19 recovering alcoholics showed that those who engaged in meditation were better at controlling their addiction, and experienced less cravings.
Together with scientific research, it is equally as important to mention that to engage in meditation is a simple, quick, and extremely beneficial activity.
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I wish you a happy and healthy day,