Meditation is a collection of techniques that can help you better train yourself mentally and physically if used correctly. Meditation can be used to improve your physical health, raise the motivation level for achieving your goals, and to improve your mental health. You may read an article or consult a book to learn these techniques as they are pretty simple. Some of you may even need counseling with an expert meditation teacher.
First of all, you must know what meditation is. A majority of the meditation techniques include the following components:
Thoughts are regarded as foreigners, and concentration determines the various meditation techniques. Specific techniques don’t encourage any foreign thoughts; rather, their sole objective is to concentrate intensely.
It’s important for you to study the various Meditation effects. The effects of meditation have been discussed below:
For people suffering from neurological diseases, critical heart problems, epilepsy, and mental illness, meditation may cause specific problems. Otherwise, meditation can also treat these or various other conditions.
Experts do often use modules based on meditation for treating various diseases. It can thus be of tremendous help to study meditative options through any health expert, psychologist, or experienced teacher.
1. MEDITATION HELPS YOU ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS – It’s no coincidence that meditation is an integral part of the daily lives of many successful people, including Oprah Winfrey and Hugh Jackman. It’s been scientifically proven that just ten minutes of meditation a day can sharpen your focus, even if you’ve never meditated before. This study states that meditation helps you block out distractions and focus on one thing at a time. So you can get more done in less time and work better under time pressure.
A 2006 study even showed that meditation changes your brain. In people who meditate regularly, the prefrontal cortex is more densely connected. This part of your brain helps you make decisions, control impulses, and plan complex actions. In other words, meditation improves your self-control.
When your schedule is once again full, and you feel like you’re just spinning on the hamster wheel, the things that are close to your heart often come up short. Meditation creates a small break from everyday life and helps you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings: Why am I doing this, and what do I want to achieve in life? Focusing on a goal that corresponds to your values is the key to success.
Spend some time with yourself every day. – Dalai Lama
2. MEDITATION MAKES THE POUNDS FALL OFF EASIER – We all know that it’s not a good idea to sit in front of the T.V. with a bag of chips in the evening and that an apple is a healthier afternoon snack than a piece of chocolate cake. Yet, time and again, we decide to change our diet, only to fall back into old patterns after a short time.
Researchers from Canada were able to show that a healthy diet begins in mind. In a meta-analysis, they compared a total of 18 studies in which the effect of mindfulness training and meditation on weight loss was examined. Even though participants initially lost more pounds, other measures such as exercise, meditation, and mindfulness training provided the best long-term results. Subjects who participated in exercise or diet programs actually gained weight over the long term, while participants in meditation programs continuously lost weight.
The positive effects could be attributed to how meditation helps regulate negative emotions better. We learn to eat more mindfully and, for example, pay more attention to our natural sense of hunger.
3. MEDITATION MAKES YOU AGE MORE SLOWLY – People who have been through a stressful time often appear to have aged years. Chronic stress affects our cellular health. An important marker of our biological age is the so-called telomeres, which sit protectively at the ends of our chromosomes. You can think of them as the plastic caps on shoelaces that keep them from fraying. As we age, telomeres shorten more and more until they can no longer perform their function properly. This results in a cell eventually being unable to divide.
Various studies showed that stressed people had shorter telomeres, i.e., were biologically older and thus more susceptible to age-related diseases than their more relaxed peers.
There is evidence that meditation can even “rejuvenate” cells. A study of cancer patients who made a series of lifestyle changes, including meditation, found that the telomeres of these participants became ten percent longer within five years.
Meditation reminds us that situations like moving to a new city or a job with a lot going on are not stressful in themselves, but our reaction to them is. Studies have shown that meditation can help us experience situations less threatening and become more relaxed with events over which we have relatively little control.
4. MEDITATION MAKES YOU CREATIVE – “Every child is an artist. The only problem is to remain an artist while growing up,” as Pablo Picasso knew. In fact, in the 1960s, researcher George Land found that children are much more imaginative than adults. He used a creativity test he had developed for none other than NASA to examine the creative potential of five-year-old children. The surprising result: 98% of children are among the highly creative! Unfortunately, as the researchers also noted in later studies, we seem to lose this ability as we grow up.
The good news is that we do not completely lose our creativity. We just have difficulty accessing our creative potential. One study showed that meditation could strengthen our creative thinking. However, this does not work with any relaxation, but by practicing the so-called “open observation meditation .”In this, you notice thoughts and feelings without judging them or elaborating on them. It is somewhat different from so-called focused meditation, in which you concentrate on a particular part of the body, for example.
5. MEDITATION IS MORE RELAXING THAN A VACATION – US researchers wanted to know which is healthier: vacation or meditation. So they studied two groups of women who either took part in a six-day meditation retreat or simply vacationed at the same resort. None of these participants had any prior experience with meditation. They were also compared to the third group of women who also attended a retreat and meditated regularly. The researchers took blood samples before, during, and after the experiment and examined various biomarkers.
After the six days at the resort, all the women initially felt less stressed and better mood. However, the recovery effect was short-lived for the vacation-only women. The women who had meditated still felt happier and more relaxed ten months later than before. Meditation also had a measurable positive effect on the participants’ cellular health.
Improving your mood also makes you healthier, which was proven in another study. Carolyn Fang of Temple University in Philadelphia studied people who participated in an eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction program, a mix of meditation, yoga, and mindfulness exercises. It turned out that the participants* felt significantly better after this program and had stronger immune systems: An increase in killer cells was detected in their blood. These ensure that diseased cells are killed.
Have you considered yoga? Yoga is a great addition to meditation. Just watch this short video to learn more.