While meditation has formerly been associated with whimsical imagery of monks, sadhus and its ancient heritage in India and Asia, meditation in more recent years has taken center stage in the wellness world. While meditation now commonly features in yoga studio timetables and retreat itineraries, meditation is also being introduced into schools, prisons, workplaces, airline entertainment, festivals, and pretty much anywhere else you can imagine!
The predominance of meditation couldn’t come at a better time as modern society faces unprecedented levels of stress, and stress-related illness. While the modern digital world can often leave us feeling overwhelmed and anxious, meditation can help us to negate these effects, to move away from a place of ‘doing’ towards simply being. Global studies have shown that meditation is indeed a powerful practice that offers a diverse number of physical, mental and emotional benefits.
The good news is you don’t need to meditate for long periods every day to enjoy these remarkable health benefits either. Research shows even just 10 minutes a day makes a significant positive difference to your wellbeing. Meditation can be done anywhere and at any time of the day. All it really requires is your commitment to show up. Think of those ten minutes you may spend scrolling through social media or watching an extra episode on Netflix!
Researchers at Harvard Medical School discovered that meditation has the power to change the body on a genetic level. People with a long-term meditation practice have been shown to have far more ”disease-fighting genes” in their body. Studies show that within two months of developing a meditation practice, the genes that help fight inflammation, kill diseased cells and protect the body from illness all begin to activate within the body.
Sleep disturbances affect millions of people around the world and meditation can help to eliminate those restless nights. Studies have proven that a daily meditation practice is linked to reduced levels of insomnia and fatigue, and in turn helps to boost energy levels, mood and productivity.
Meditation has the ability to increase pain tolerance while also decreasing anxiety, depression, and the use of pain medications. Mindfulness meditation has been used successfully as a pain management technique for people who suffer from a variety of conditions, including headaches, lower back pain, chest pain, and gastrointestinal discomfort.
Lowers Blood Pressure:
Over 600 studies conducted worldwide have reported that meditation can lower blood pressure by making the body less responsive to stress hormones and lowering anxiety levels. A number of lifestyle changes are best when it comes to reducing blood pressure levels, but meditation has been shown to be an effective addition to a healthy lifestyle program.
When a female’s body is in constant stress, the reproductive system does not function at its optimum level. Studies have proven that women are far more likely to conceive when they are in a relaxed state and doctors and fertility experts around the world are advising women to introduce meditation as a means to assist conception. Similarly, relaxation may also boost male fertility as stress has been shown to lower sperm count.
The digestive system is severely affected when the body is tense and anxious. Stress can wreak havoc on the gut, causing inflammation, acid reflux, ulcers, and even food allergies. By calming the mind and body, meditation allows for a deep level of relaxation that significantly enhances the digestive system’s efficiency. Practicing a relaxation meditation has also been shown to improve symptoms of bloating, diarrhea and constipation.
Meditation has been shown to assist with self-acceptance, self-confidence, personal growth, and an increased sense of purpose. It can help to alleviate depression, negativity and addictions. Meditation can help to build compassion, understanding, forgiveness and overall happiness. When it comes to mental and emotional wellbeing, meditation is one of the easiest and most effective ways to find balance, peace and contentedness.