All About the Benefits of Meditation

For novices, meditation consists of putting oneself in the lotus position on a cushion and closing one's eyes. In other words, people see only the outward aspect of the practice. However, meditation is more than that. It is an art of living, a simple way to find inner peace and keep it in all circumstances with many benefits.

This activity requires the use of concentration and relaxation techniques that allow one to silence one's thoughts in order to be able to concentrate on oneself. Available in different varieties, it guarantees many benefits both morally and physically. Find out what they are!


All about the different types of meditation

There are different types of meditation and each variant has its specificities. The first is mindfulness meditation. It allows practitioners to become aware of their bodies and their environment so that they can live fully in the present moment.

There is also transcendental meditation. It is a relaxation technique based on the repetition of phrases or words that are part of the mantras. They serve as a support for concentration. Zen meditation is on the list and its function is to change your world view in a more positive way.


The benefits of meditation

The practice of meditation is more and more common in the West. Here is a non-exhaustive list of the benefits it brings.





Improve memory

According to a study published in the journal Scientific Reports, the practice of meditation can optimize the effectiveness of the brain. Indeed, the researchers brought together 34 individuals divided into two groups. One group practiced mindfulness meditation while the other performed muscle relaxation exercises.

The researchers found an improvement in cognitive performance among the participants who practiced meditation. Indeed, their concentration at work and memory improved significantly. Another study conducted by Sonia Goulet and Carol Hudon with 60-year-old people with mild cognitive impairment confirms this result.

Indeed, meditating for eight weeks allowed patients to preserve their memory capacity. It should be noted that meditation is a means of shaping different areas of the brain, particularly the left hippocampus. It is at the root of our ability to retain new information.


Optimize concentration

According to a study conducted by Dr. Katherine MacLean, meditation is a way to optimize concentration. In fact, the doctor asked two groups of students to analyze rather difficult lines of text.

The first group took meditation classes. They did well on the test. Indeed, thanks to meditation, they were able to concentrate for a long time, which allowed them to complete the task, however difficult it may be.

A study conducted by other American researchers from Washington, D.C., showed the same result. This time, the researchers conducted the tests on workers. They found that the workers' productivity improved because they gained in concentration through meditation.

Also worth mentioning is the experiment carried out by Harvard researchers on 16 individuals. After practicing meditation for 8 weeks, the study participants underwent an MRI. The examination showed an increase in gray matter in areas of the brain related to memory and learning.




Reduce stress and bad feelings

Stress, known as the scourge of modern times, affects thousands of people around the world. It causes a whole host of health problems, including hypertension, obesity and depression. Numerous studies have demonstrated the benefits of meditation to manage and reduce stress.

One of these is the study conducted by Elisabeth Hoge in 2014 with people suffering from anxiety. After eight weeks of meditation practice, symptoms decreased. There is also the study conducted by Professor Willem Kuyken with individuals affected by recurrent depression. It revealed that mindfulness meditation reduced relapses and decreased symptoms.

Note that a frightening or stressful situation immediately provokes a strong reaction in the prefrontal cortex. This connection causes stress and anxiety, and meditation helps to reduce it. Furthermore, meditation helps to relax the body and release all tensions.


Preventing the onset of Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer's disease is a disorder that scares many people. It could practically destroy the lives of its victims. Several factors can promote the onset of this disease, including metabolic syndrome and stress. The research team of Sonia Goulet and Carole Hudon, professors at the School of Psychology at Laval University, discovered that meditation could be a solution to the problem. Indeed, it could delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease.


Optimize longevity

This is another benefit of meditation. According to a study conducted by researchers in California on elderly people, meditation reduces the amount of c-reactive protein. If it's too high, it could lead to the development of a heart condition. In addition, meditation helps reduce inflammation in the body.

Another study was conducted in Boston on individuals with high blood pressure. They practiced meditation for three months and it was enough to reduce their blood pressure. It should not be forgotten that cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and hypertension are the cause of many deaths. Through meditation, therefore, they can be prevented and avoided, which could put many people out of harm's way. But what is important is the result of the study conducted by Elizabet BlackBurn in 2010, which shows that meditation can slow down aging.




Overcoming bad habits

This is another asset in the practice of meditation. Indeed, according to a 2015 study, it promotes the development of the frontal dorso-lateral cortex. This area of the brain is responsible for the will.

Sarah Bower has also conducted a study of alcohol addicts in 2014. The patients were divided into two groups. The first group practiced mindfulness meditation, while the second group followed a classic withdrawal program. After 12 months, 20% of the members of the second group returned to alcoholism. On the other hand, the relapse rate was only 8% for the first group.

All this proves that meditation really does help to overcome addiction. Indeed, it optimizes the will to lead a healthier life. It is also effective in the fight against obesity and other behavioral disorders.


Boost creativity

According to Dr. John Fagan, a biologist at Maharishi University of Management, two meditation sessions a day are enough to boost creativity. It must be said that stress and lack of self-confidence are real creative blockages. To eliminate doubt and have positive thoughts, there is nothing better than meditation.

Researchers at Leiden University have also affirmed that meditation allows for divergent thinking. It will be indispensable if you want to find new ideas when carrying out a specific task or solving a particular problem.

In addition, it should be noted that meditation helps to improve the oxygenation of the brain. It provides a feeling of clarity and promotes the development of intuition.


Living happier

If meditation has conquered so many people, it is because it is a true source of well-being. In addition, it promotes positive emotions. A study conducted by Dr. Richard Davidson in 2004 yielded quite impressive results.

The doctor placed electrodes on the heads of monks who have been doing meditation for years. His goal was to measure the monks' gamma brain wave levels. They are related to different notions such as self-control, intelligence, well-being and compassion. The doctor then discovered that they are very high, which can only make them better in the areas mentioned above.

The practice of meditation therefore allows them to acquire many qualities that will make life pleasant. For example, it is possible to have more compassion for people, positive thoughts, caring feelings and a great ability to manage anger. All these are necessary to lead a serene life.




To fight against pain

Meditation is also a great ally in the fight against pain and this has been proven by numerous scientific studies. Researchers at the University of California, for example, conducted a study on 12 individuals who practice meditation and 12 others who serve as controls.

In the meditators, the brain responses to pain were less than 50% compared to the controls. The latter then practiced meditation for 5 months. At the end of this period, their cerebral response to pain also decreased significantly. The practice of meditation is therefore an adequate solution for people suffering from chronic pain.


Boost immunity

Meditation is a way to boost the immune system. Indeed, the study conducted by Richard J. Davidson and published in the journal "Psychoneuroendocrionoligy" revealed that meditation has beneficial effects on genes. To be more precise, meditation makes the pro-inflammatory genes less expressed.

As a result, the body is able to fight effectively against stress and negative emotions. It should be noted that they are at the root of many health problems ranging from a simple cold to the most serious disorders. In addition, the practice of meditation alleviates inflammatory symptoms.


To sleep well

Many people suffer from insomnia. Stress, fatigue and everyday problems are at the root of the problem. Most victims hope to regain a restful and restorative sleep by taking sleeping pills. However, numerous studies have proven that these medications often remain ineffective.

Meditation, on the other hand, may be an adequate solution. Why is this? Quite simply because it eliminates the causes of insomnia, such as stress, tension and fatigue. Furthermore, meditation promotes relaxation, a prerequisite for falling asleep.


Fighting depression and increasing attention span

All this is possible thanks to the fact that meditation helps to fight stress and optimize the brain's functioning. Its practice is particularly beneficial for people with attention deficit or hyperactivity disorders. Indeed, meditation could optimize their level of attention.

An American study published in the journal TranslationalPsychiatry also revealed that the combination of sports and meditation can reduce the symptoms of depression. This conclusion is confirmed by the work done by American researchers at Carnegie Mellon University.

They observed 35 unemployed people under stress who practiced meditation. This resulted in a strong connection of a neural network related to rest, which practically reduced their stress levels. It should be noted that this network has a great influence on behavior.


How to practice meditation well?

Of course, to benefit from the benefits of meditation, it must be practiced in the right way. First of all, it is essential to choose the right approach and the right moment to start according to the objectives to be achieved. If the idea is to improve the quality of sleep, it would be better to meditate in the evening.

On the other hand, if the objective is to be able to face the day with serenity, it would be preferable to practice meditation in the morning. In addition to all this, it is necessary to meditate in a pleasant environment that is conducive to concentration. The ideal is to lock yourself in a room with a Zen decor. Eager to live in a good mood and in good health? You should try meditation. Moreover, it is accessible to everyone. Yes, even children can meditate. Know that regular meditation practice will keep you away from stress and all its harmful effects on your health. It will also allow you to be more successful in your professional life.