Meditation is a practice that helps us focus and achieve inner-balance.
Meditation has been shown to lower stress levels and increase self-awareness. However, it’s not clear whether these effects are due to the act of meditating itself or simply because we spend time thinking about ourselves.
With that said let’s unpack the link between meditation and mental health.
The Impact of Meditation on Mental Health
Meditating is not a new phenomenon; it has been practiced for thousands of years. It was a symbol of morality and concentration, among others, in the ancient times.
Meditation has been practiced for religious or spiritual reasons for thousands of years. However, people started recognizing its health and mental health benefit as well.
Over the past half century or so, mindfulness has been increasingly embraced by people from different walks of life. It helps us focus, be more aware, and feel calmer and happier.
We’ll now examine some specific aspects of meditation that impact the human brain.
- In recent times, researchers have found out that the true potential of the human mind is not fixed at the moment of conception. We have the ability to develop our minds throughout life. This capability is called “Neuroplasticity”. One of the best ways to enhance and increase the neuroplasticity in your mind is through meditating. When you meditate, you help yourself to relax and calm down the part of your mind that causes feelings of loneliness and disconnection. By doing so, you can train your mind to override these negative emotions and experience happiness instead.
- When we meditate we decrease the beta wave activity in our brains. This means that the mind slows down. Even if we mediate for just twenty minute, the frontal lobes, parietal lobes, and occipital lobes tend to slow down. We can think of it as turning down the volume knob in the mind and drowning out the chatter. In effect, mediation improves concentration and mental wellbeing by reducing anxiety and stress levels.
- Meditation is also know to impact the gray area in our brains. Studies show that meditation can increase the gray area in the brain’s frontal areas and hippocampus. It is these gray areas that are responsible for increasing emotional balance and positive thoughts. Fascinating, isn’t it?
Benefits of Meditating for Mental Health
There are so many reasons why people meditate. Below are just a few of them.
Many young adults today struggle with sleeplessness or poor quality of rest because they’re glued to screens for long periods of time.
If you practice mindfulness regularly, it can help you get better rest at night. By slowing down your brain activity, it helps you relax and reaches a peaceful mental condition.
It releases stress and makes you less likely to be anxious during the day.
Helps to fight addiction
To practice mindfulness, you need to be disciplined and controlled. If you become accustomed to practicing mindfulness regularly, you’ll gain greater awareness of yourself and others.
You’ll also develop a stronger, clearer identity.
Meditation can be used to treat various types of addiction and unwanted behaviors.
Reduces stress and anxiety
Meditation helps us to reduce our stress and improve our mental health by focusing on breathing and mindfulness.
When we worry, our bodies produce cortisol. Cortisol is an important chemical that helps us deal with stressful situations. But too much cortisol causes problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, weight gain, and insomnia.
So if you’re stressed out, try taking a yoga class or meditating. Also, say your mantras aloud whenever possible.
Enhances emotional well-being
Meditating helps improve our overall emotional well-being. It allows us to develop a positive perspective on life’s problems.
Multiple research has shown that meditators have fewer negative thoughts than non-meditators.
Regular meditation practice allows people to gain emotional control.
Stress causes inflammation, which affects our emotions. Meditating helps us control our minds and emotions by reducing the levels of inflammation caused by stress.
Meditation is an ancient practice that dates back thousands of years. In today’s world, people often find themselves stressed out and overwhelmed.
They may feel anxious about what they should do next. But instead of focusing on these things, they could try learning how to relax and learn how to clear their mind.
By doing so, they can reduce stress levels and help them get through their day without feeling overwhelmed.
We practice watching our mind without judging its contents. Over a period of time, we learn to watch our minds without reacting to their content.
Meditation makes us slower to respond and judge.
Hence we can remove the distractions and noises from our mind and achieve greater awareness which is the foundation of confidence.
How to Start Meditation for Your Mental Health?
For beginners who want to start meditating, here are some easy steps to get started.
- Before beginning meditation, ensure that you’re sitting comfortably in a chair, cushion or even on the ground. Also, keep your spine straight and your body relaxed.
- When you’re done focusing on your breathing, follow your breath both when you breathe in and out.
- Two-minute meditation: Start by inhaling deeply for three to four seconds and hold for three to four seconds before exhale slowly. Repeat the process until the time runs out.
- Every single moment when a thought crosses your head, just stop thinking about it. Instead, focus on your breathing. Repeat this exercise until you notice that over the course of several days, the number of times you think about something decreases.
Meditation is easy to learn if you start out by doing just five minute sessions. You can gradually increase the time you spend practising meditation.
Meditation can help us become more mindful, better manage our emotional states, and reduce stress. In particular, meditation is essential for maintaining equilibrium in times of rapid change.
Meditation has been studied for decades now, and researchers continue to learn new things about it every day.
From all the research we’ve done so far, however, we can safely say there are multiple health and mental health advantages to practicing meditation regularly.