Most people are aware of the need to do physical exercises to stay healthy and fit. But the same fitness freaks become clueless when asked what they do to improve their mental health. You cannot touch or see stress but you can certainly feel it. Meditation is an age-old Indian practise of controlling your mind and thoughts.
It is believed to do wonders for the mental health of the user. It is a method of gaining insight into one’s own mind and uniting the soul with the almighty. As meditation is all about mind and brain, it has tremendous mental health benefits that manifest themselves in higher efficiency, happiness, and well-being.
Lowering your stress
As we started off talking about stress, it is in the fitness of things to describe the biggest benefit of meditation. The basic aim of meditation is to help you achieve relaxation and experience a calm and tranquil mind. It helps in lowering your stress levels to make you feel lighter and happier. Stress in itself is harmful but it also leads to the production of a hormone called cortisol. High levels of cortisol are associated with depression, anxiety, fatigue, and high blood pressure. There are many other stress-related ailments like irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia that can be treated through meditation. The meditation contains many breathing techniques that lower stress levels for the individual.
Improved focus and enhanced concentration
Many of us suffer from a lack of focus and poor concentration. It results in a drop in performance and efficiency and hampers our chances of progress at academic and professional levels. There are various meditation techniques that help in improving the focus of the individual. These techniques are designed to help you to look inwards in a bid to achieve inner consciousness and a deep state of relaxation. You will find that your concentration levels have gone up significantly within a few weeks of starting meditation. Scientific studies have shown that regular practice of meditation increases grey matter inside the brain. Grey matter is associated with learning, memory, and cognitive abilities.
Lowers anxiety levels
Anxiety has become a very common and widespread mental problem among people. People remain in a generalised state of anxiety that plays havoc with their ability to take the right decision at the right moment. They feel nervous and unsure of themselves and not able to realise their true potential. By doing meditation for some time regularly, patients of chronic anxiety said they felt better, lighter, and happier. Meditation has been proven to be beneficial for men and women suffering from anxiety as it reduces high-stress levels.
It has helped thousands of individuals in lowering their anxiety levels by getting rid of their dependence on anti-anxiety medication. The effects of meditation are similar to those of antidepressants, the pills that have become a bane of American society at present.
It does wonders for the emotional health of the individual
Modern medical science has developed medications and tools to improve the physical health of people. Health-conscious men and women take part in all sorts of physical activities and exercises to improve their fitness levels. It is the emotional health of the people that remains ignored and overlooked in such a scenario. Through meditation, one can improve emotional health to cope with all the stress that one experiences on social and professional fronts. Here are important ways in which meditation helps in improving emotional health.
- Reduction of stress levels
- Management of negative emotions
- Improvement of focus and concentration
- Increase in self-consciousness
- Focus on the present moment
- Enhanced ability to deal with stressful situations
Many people who are low on confidence find it difficult to adjust to various situations in their lives. They also find it difficult to develop strong and meaningful relationships with other people. By doing meditation regularly, an individual is able to gain insights into their own self. They gain a better understanding of themselves which allows them to relate to others and events and situations in their life. Meditation increases the self-esteem of the user and they stop treating themselves as useless or having a low value in comparison to others. As the individual finds it easier to deal with others and social situations, they gain self-confidence which serves as a launchpad for success in life. Participants who have taken part in meditation camps have reported lesser anxiety and increased self-esteem after the completion of the course.
Meditation increases the virtues of empathy and kindness
Meditation is a technique that enables the user to meet his inner self, something that is a life-changing event for anyone. You may think of yourself as a professor, an engineer, a doctor, or the CEO of a company but you never realise your true identity. It is through meditation that people become aware of their true selves and the purpose of life. This understanding changes the perspective of the individual towards others. He becomes more humane in his outlook and behaviour towards others. Many super-rich and influential personalities of the world accept that meditation has taught them the virtues of humility and kindness.
One of the benefits of meditation that make it very good for young kids and students is that it helps in improving memory. Meditation increases mindfulness by improving many brain functions. Regular practice of meditation establishes strong neural networks inside the brain to bolster the memory of the individual. Therefore, meditation is good not only for young kids but also for adults and seniors who face the prospect of degeneration of brain functions through ailments like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Describing the mental health benefits of meditation is as difficult as it is for someone thirsty to describe how he feels upon drinking water. Meditation is a wonderful way of exercising your brain and mind to gain a better understanding of yourself and others. It is the only way you can communicate with yourself and hope to unite your soul with the almighty.
Elena Deeley did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.
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