In the early years, meditation was practiced to help deepen understanding of mystical and sacred forces of life. Now, meditation is practiced as a form of therapy. It helps to reduce stress by training your mind to focus and redirect the stream of thoughts that could be crowding your mind. Meditation is increasingly gaining popularity as more people become aware of its numerous benefits. Not only does practicing meditation help you increase self-awareness and focus on the present, but it also reduces negative emotions and helps you remain calm in stressful situations. Today, you can find royalty free meditation music that you can listen to while meditating to enhance your cognitive abilities and make your sessions more effective. No matter the type of meditation you practice, here are proven benefits that regular meditation can have on your health and overall well-being: 1. Reduces Stress One of the main benefits of practicing meditation is stress reduction. Typically, physical and mental stress increases cortisol levels, the stress hormone. This leads to harmful stress-related effects, such as releasing cytokines, which is the inflammatory chemical. These effects can result in sleep disruption, increased blood pressure, depression and anxiety. This causes fatigue, poor concentration, and cloudy thoughts. Mindfulness meditation has been shown to lower the levels of stress hormones in your body, helping you feel more relaxed and calmer. A 2013 review that involved an analysis of over 200 mindfulness meditation studies revealed mindfulness to be effective in stress reduction. Mantra meditation can also produce a calming effect, and focusing on your mantra enables you to focus away from distracting thoughts. This helps lower your levels of stress, burnout, and depression. 2. Mitigate Age-Related Memory Loss As we age, we tend to lose some short-term memory and cognitive abilities. By practicing meditation, you can improve your clarity of thinking and attention, helping keep your mind young. Combining mantra meditation with repetitive motion of the fingers to concentrate your thoughts has been found to improve cognitive performance in people with age-related memory loss. Another study showed that practicing a combination of different meditation styles can improve memory, attention, and mental swiftness in older adults. Apart from reducing age-related memory loss, practicing meditation can improve memory in people with dementia. It can also help you control stress and cope better when caring for people with dementia. 3. Manage Anxiety or Depression Meditation helps your mind focus on the present, reducing your chance of ruminating on anxious thoughts that often causes depression. A 2014 research study found mindfulness meditation to help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, making it an effective part of your mental health treatment plan. Some studies also show mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) to help calm your anxious mind and reduce depression symptoms, such as low mood, lack of appetite, and sleeping problems. Another study revealed that practicing mindfulness meditation for at least eight weeks could help alleviate symptoms of anxiety for those with generalized anxiety disorder and improve stress coping and increase positive self-statements. By combining different meditation exercises, you can lower your anxiety levels more effectively. For instance, yoga can help reduce your anxiety levels faster since it involves physical activity and meditative practice. You can use meditation to reduce job-related anxiety and increase feelings of well-being at your workplace. 4. Improves Sleep Short-term insomnia can cause poor concentration, daytime fatigue, and anxiety. And in the long-term, severe insomnia increases your risk of developing chronic health conditions such as obesity, depression, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Regular meditation can improve your sleep by redirecting or controlling the racing thoughts that often cause insomnia. Numerous studies have shown people who practice mindfulness meditation stay asleep longer and have lesser insomnia severity than those who don’t meditate. A combination of different meditation exercises can help release tension in your body, relaxing your body and putting you in a peaceful and calmer state, so you can easily fall asleep. Not only can this help reduce the time you take to fall asleep, but it can also improve sleep quality. 5. Helps Control Pain A growing body of evidence suggests that mediation can be helpful in controlling pain. A recent review involving 38 studies found that mindfulness meditation may be helpful in reducing pain, alleviating symptoms of depression, and improving the quality of life for people with chronic pain. Practicing mindfulness meditation for just 10 minutes can help calm down your nervous system and regulate your blood pressure, leading to reduced pain and a greater ability to cope with pain. Endnote There are many benefits to practicing meditation. Not only does meditation improve your physical health but also your mental and emotional health. Meditation can help alleviate stress, improve your focus, boost your immune, and deal better with chronic pain, addiction, and depression. Try out different forms of meditation to find the right one for you and practice regularly to improve your health and well-being. The good thing is that you don’t need any membership or special equipment to practice meditation and you can do it anywhere. Alongside meditating, be sure to do regular physical activity, eat healthily, and keep your weight in check.