We all know that meditation is kind of beneficial for the body and mind. However, this thousand of years old practice brings much more than just relaxation and peace. The following 11 things are only a fraction of what meditation does to your body, mind, and soul. Read on and be amazed by what meditation can do!
1. You become more empathic and this promotes the relationship with you and others
Meditation is a journey inwards. If you practice regularly, you will get to know yourself better over time, and you may get to places you would rather not have seen.
This process of self-knowledge allows you to better understand your behaviour and nature, and thus you can also better recognize and understand the behaviour and patterns of other people. This also has an extremely positive effect on interpersonal relationships, especially with your partner.
2. Your love life gets going again
Through meditation, you get in touch with your feelings and emotions. You begin to perceive more and start to listen and trust your body.
You become more sensitive to touch, on a spiritual and physical level. As you get to know and understand yourself better, it's getting easier and easier for you to receive and love your partner as she or he is. This leads to more trust and deepens the intimacy that goes far beyond sexuality.
3. Your emotional stability rises
The International Journal of Neuroscience published a study in 2005 that shows that meditation makes people more resistant to emotional outbursts and "everyday dramas". They found out that meditation increases Gamma waves activity in the frontal area of the brain. Gamma wave is the frequency in our brain associated with peak performance, concentration and focus, information, mystical and transcendent experiences.
A sense of universal knowledge and loss of egocentric acting was also observed (source: brain and consciousness). The study shows, that meditators react more resiliently and emotionally calmly than non-meditating people. Through meditation, you are more able to differentiate between your primary emotions and secondary emotions.
Primary emotions are directly connected to the event. Secondary emotions are reactions we have to our primary emotions. Identifying emotions is important to be able to react to them properly. For someone who struggles with handling emotions or reacting appropriately being unable to express themselves can be frustrating.
This, in turn, leads to anger and even rage. For example, when you feel angry you may feel ashamed afterwards or when you feel joy, you may feel relief or pride. In Star Wars, Master Yoda explained secondary emotions perfectly - "fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering." - Meditating, you must.
4. It increases your creativity
Through meditation, you can relax the mind and body. Old patterns dissolve, space will be created and new doors open to new worlds of thought. The right half of the brain, the centre of creativity, is stimulated. Emotions can be controlled better.
Thus, the Neocortex, the multisensory and motor part of the cerebral cortex of mammals, can be used more efficiently. New synapses are formed and this helps you to connect new possibilities, experiences, feelings, and thoughts with each other.
This developed skill lifts your creativity and problem-solving ability into higher spheres.
5. Meditation promotes concentration and productivity
Many studies have shown that regular meditation increases concentration and builds up brain cells. Results of the study at the Massachusetts General Hospital around Harvard researcher Sara Lazar could prove that after eight weeks of meditation the grey substance in the amygdala decreased and that of the hippocampus increased.
The amygdala helps the body to deal with anxiety and stress and controls the so-called "fight or flight" mode. The hippocampus is the area of the brain that controls memory, learning, self-awareness, self-observation, and compassion.
The shrinkage of the amygdala concludes with a reduction in the body's stress response. The shrinkage of the amygdala also causes a thickening of the prefrontal cortex around it. The prefrontal cortex is the area of the brain responsible for decision-making, concentration, and attention. All in all, meditation makes us smarter.
6. It helps with depression, panic, and anxiety
There are countless studies that prove the effectiveness of meditation in depression and depressive moods. Meditation and mindfulness can, therefore, be a good alternative to, or complement medical therapy. Meditation has been found to significantly reduce anxiety and panic attacks with astonishing long-term effects.
Even if this psychological disorder is only slightly pronounced, the alternating highs and lows are very strenuous. Meditation has a balancing effect and can positively influence the severity of the illness. If these mental illnesses are diagnosed, it is advisable to consult your doctor before starting a meditative practice.
7. It works against vices
Meditation helps you to focus and let your thoughts step aside. With regular practice, you will succeed not only during meditation but also beyond it. Nicotine calms and stimulates at the same time. This combination makes it so difficult to keep your fingers off the ciggy.
Often, however, the pull on the cigarette is only a bad habit that serves to fill a hole inside us. The same applies to excessive alcohol consumption, eating attacks, or similar. When consulted with a doctor, meditation is a wonderful way to balance without the need for mind-altering substances.
8. Meditation relieves pain
Headaches and migraines are often caused by psychological stress and the resulting tension of the muscles in the neck and head area. In meditation, you divert your focus away from thoughts and present problems and your mind and body get a break and can relax.
Doing this regularly, the discomfort can become rarer and lighter. A study by the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester has shown that meditation combined with other relaxation techniques can significantly alleviate health problems such as headaches and migraines.
9. You improve your performance in sports
Sports psychologists at Humboldt-Universität Berlin (HU) have discovered that meditation and mindfulness training can increase performance in competitive athletes and also increase their ability to focus. In addition, emotions can be better regulated and athletes find it easier to enter the "flow-state".
"Flow" is the state in which the athlete is so absorbed in his task that he can hide everything around him. The flow-state, the control of emotions, and the ability to concentrate and focus are important psychological aspects in competitive sports, which can be increased enormously with meditation and mindfulness.
I also found the "Mindful Sports Performance Enhancement" (MSPE) fascinating, consisting of four exercise units in which athletes learn breathing and meditation techniques. Here the "Body Scan" is practised, a method in which the focus of perception is directed at all parts of the body one after the other. The study included golfers, archers, and runners.
10. Meditation keeps you young
The research team at the University of California in Davis, led by neuroscientist Professor Dr. Clifford Saron, has discovered that meditation protects the genetic material and slows down the ageing process. Telomeres are the protective caps of chromosomes that wear out during cell division and eventually get lost. This is the reason why we age.
The study showed that meditation promotes the production of telomerase, a protein that significantly slows the degradation of telomeres and thus the ageing process. So, no reason for poison injections and expensive shade for the face.
11. You sleep better
You may know, we sleep worse when we go to bed in a negative mood. The psychologist Caitlin Demsky, who participated in a study by the American Association of Psychology on the effect of negative mood on our sleep, said in a press release: "The quality of our sleep is extremely important because it determines what we can do at work and how we behave.
In today's fast-paced and competitive world, it is more important than ever that employees are in the best shape to succeed. A good night's sleep is the key to success."
Besides all the other positive and relaxing effects, meditation also activates the production of melatonin. This hormone is responsible for healthy sleep. Fear, worry, and stress make it difficult for the body to build it up. Meditation techniques like Yoga Nidra relax the mind and body and stimulate the production of melatonin.
The list of positive effects of meditation could, of course, be continued forever.
Namaste and lots of love,