Benefits of Meditation: 42 (Life-Changing) Reasons to Start Today

Geoffrey Lions
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1: Maintains General Wellness

There are so many ways that meditation can support true wellness but I think that the easiest way to think about it is that meditation helps us to manage stress more effectively. This translates into a higher quality of life.

I have a full article that covers this topic, entitled “The Benefits of Meditation.” In my experience, if you can’t manage your stress, then you will have a much harder time staying healthy or performing optimally in any way.

But the benefits of meditation go beyond just better managing your stress. Meditation also has its own set of benefits that are specific to meditation. In this article, I would like to focus on those benefits.

Meditation Benefits for the Brain

The results are in, and it’s official: Meditation has tangible benefits for your brain.

Meditation soothes the brain — and the body.

During meditation, the brain releases an anti-stress hormone, which helps reduce stress and physical pain throughout your body. A 2010 study published in the Journal of Neuroscience found that this hormone, known as oxytocin, can help people more effectively manage thoughts and emotions.

Meditation gives you a break from your brain.

According to the study, oxytocin helps the brain stop working so hard — thus taking a break from the self-critical thoughts and feelings that typically occupy the mind.

Meditation increases brain connectivity.

A study from the University of Oregon found that the act of meditation increases cortical thickening of the frontal cortex — the area of the brain that controls attention, emotions and other higher-level thinking functions.

Meditation may increase grey matter in your brain.

While further research is needed to confirm, multiple studies have found an increase in grey matter, particularly in the areas of the brain related to learning and memory, compassion, sense of self and emotional regulation, in people who meditate.

Meditation may improve reasoning and critical thinking skills.

2: Makes You Feel Happier!

It seems that meditation’s impact on neurological states, and by extension emotional states, is pretty impressive. As we noted above, there’s reason to believe it can even make you more optimistic about your future.

And when it comes to feeling happier in general, there’s evidence that it can have a really positive impact on the brain. One study found that meditation increases neural activity in the brain’s left hemisphere, which if you remember is the side that’s more related to positive emotional activity.

In fact, the study even found that these activity increases are comparable to those of people who’ve just exercised! We’ve already seen that exercise can improve your mood, so if you already log some hours in at the gym, you can add meditation to your routine and get even more emotional benefits.

3: Improves Your Memory

We all know that exercise is a great way to improve your health. It keeps our bodies fit and reduces stress, but a 2013 study led by Berklee College of Music neuroscientist and senior author of the study Qinghai Jiang found that meditation does something that we didn’t know it could do, exercise our brains.

Even if you are sitting still, your body is completely involved in movement … it’s more than you think. Your belly and chest raise and lower with each breath, your leg muscles move as you shift your weight, your arms and fingers move with each subtle movement of the hand.

Even if your body is still, your mind often isn’t. The noise of everyday thoughts and movements in our world travels in and out of our minds, drawing our attention from one sight or sound to another. While meditation doesn’t absolutely quiet your mind, it does make it easier to catch yourself when you’re distracted by something and be able to return your mind’s focus to the present moment.

When confronted with a problem, meditation gives you space to think without being distracted by the noise of your everyday thoughts and the world around you. This space to think allows you to approach problems from new perspectives, the kind of perspective that increases clarity, creativity, and innovation.

4: Reduces Anxiety

One of the biggest reasons why people are turning to meditation is to calm down the mind. If you’re prone to anxiety, you owe it to yourself to find a way to ease those nerves.

Even if it’s something as simple as taking a few minutes to sit back and close your eyes in the morning, you can reduce your anxiety response. Why? Well, there’s a scientific reason behind it.

As you recognize over and over again during your meditation session, you start to create more awareness of your thoughts. With increased awareness, you may be able to catch your anxiety before it becomes a full blown panic attack.

Take Baby Steps

It’s not a bad idea to take it one step at a time. If you’re a beginner, take a few minutes to do some deep breathing in the morning. It’s known for its calming effects, and it also takes less time than a full session on your mat.

Build yourself up to that point to see if meditation is right for you. If you begin to notice any positive effects, you’ll know it’s time to step it up and dedicate some time to a more formal session.

5: Makes You Feel More Grateful

One study that looked at the effects of mindfulness on participants who were undergoing cancer treatment found that participants who were more mindful were able to meditate on gratitude as a coping mechanism, reducing stress levels.

In the study, participants were asked to answer questions about gratitude before and after undergoing chemotherapy. Participants who answered questions about gratefulness before their chemotherapy responded with fewer negative emotions after their treatment than before compared to participants who were not asked to write about gratitude.

Interestingly, participants who wrote about gratitude did not report feeling differently from those who did not write about gratitude. Based on this study, it appears that being more grateful helps people see the good in situations and makes them feel better, regardless of whether or not they realize that they are feeling thankful.

6: Encourages Forgiveness

After a lifetime of learning to hold onto your anger, it can feel scary to let it go. When your mind is trained to constantly judge, to focus on bad memories and to always focus on what’s wrong, it can feel crazy to not continue on that path. But meditation is a place where you can find peace in a way that allows you to clear your mind of negativity and forgive.

When you’re practicing mindfulness, you’re taking every chance to focus on the happy. You’re taking every moment to appreciate instead of causing conflict. You’re taking every opportunity to do kind things instead of pointing the finger at someone else. And you’re doing your best to maintain happiness in even the hardest of circumstances.

Meditation is hard, but it’s not always hard. It’s serious work to be honest about what’s wrong and admit what isn’t good, but it’s so much harder to be angry about it. Focusing on the negative is a habit that you can change with time and patience.

7: Reduces Stress

Mental distress comes in many forms.

Anger

Many of these feelings can be extremely painful, and often, even debilitating.

One antidote to these negative emotions is the practice of meditation. While meditation is often thought of as a religious practice, it has been carried on by Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Islamic, and Jewish traditions alike.

Even if your religious tradition does not include a form of meditation, it may still be useful in helping you to relieve stress and mental distress.

The foundation of the benefits of meditation is centered on the idea that by quieting your mind, you can better focus on the present moment.

8: Helps with Depression

And Much More.

Most People Think

Meditation is about feeling good, but it’s actually about being present in the moment. Being present helps broaden and deepen your outlook and change your way of seeing the world, which is the opposite of how those with depression see the world.

Depressed people are often stuck in an endless cycle of negative thought and feeling. It gets to the point that you’re looking to the future and seeing nothing but discouragement and negativity. This is because you have lost the ability to see the present and appreciate it.

Meditation helps you to slow down and appreciate the present. It trains you to focus on the present moment while not getting overwhelmed. It helps you to focus on the positive and make the positive things around you even better. It’s a great way to move away from that negative cycle and take control of your own life.

People with depression typically have a big case of all-or-nothing thinking. You are either dead wrong or your are right on the dot. When someone doesn’t show you the respect you deserve, you see them as horrible and flawed human being. Many people with depression struggle with not feeling worthy or not feeling good enough.

9: Improves Sleep

[google_ad:DOTR_CMS_468x60_InArticle2]The transition into sleep comes quickly when your body starts to feel relaxed. If you are still having trouble falling asleep, you naturally may think about all of the things you have to accomplish the next day. Since you are lying in bed, your mind might focus on how lazy you feel, making it even harder to fall asleep.

Meditation allows a person to let go of this stress and move into a state of relaxation. As your body becomes relaxed, so does your mind, making it easier to fall asleep, quicker.

Sleep deprivation can damage your immune system, impact mood and energy levels, and cause irritability. Meditation can help to heal sleep deprivation and increase the quality of your sleep time. This can also impact your overall health since poor sleep can cause other health and wellness related issues.

10: Helps Manage Stress

When people look for a release, they often go for a form of entertainment. Watching a movie or playing a video game is a typical way to unplug. It can be a great experience, but it’s not a skill that will make you happier in the long term.

10: Improves Concentration

Meditation allows you to perceive (i.e., sense, feel, intuit) more things without becoming distracted. This alertsness allows you to adjust course if necessary, and then it helps you to direct all of your energies towards the task at hand. This means that meditation can improve your concentration.

Meditation helps you to stay focused on the right things. The correct term is mindfulness, and it helps you to have the right amount and kind of energy for every task, rather than having too little or too much and lacking control over what you do. When you focus your awareness, you are able to stay with ideas, sensations, and even emotions. You stay in the moment.

11: Increased Focus

When a person becomes unfocused, it can hurt how beneficial daily meditation is. It can lead to bad habits, and potentially dangerous moments. In 1993, Michael Pluta, of St. Louis University, and Roger Walsh, of McLean Hospital, discovered that long term practitioners of Buddhism exhibited an increased ability to focus. This research has been published in the Journal of Drug Education and used to examine the impact on meditation and mental health.

In 1996, Tilden Schaeffer and Barbara Dossey published a study on Buddhist monks who had spent at least 11,000 hours meditating. Their study focused on the impact of these long-term practitioners to determine their level of meditation, their self-oriented traits, and their attention. They found that the monks simultaneously had strong attentional capacity and a sharp desire to focus.

With a record-breaking number of studies on the subject, it’s clear that meditation increases focus.

12: Raises Self-esteem

Ben Morre at Psychology Today writes, “Recent research shows that meditation makes you feel more self-aware, build self-worth, and believe that you have more control over your life. ”

Transforming Perceived Negatives into Positives

Similarly, meditation can allow you to make the best of a negative situation. You can make a difficult situation into an opportunity to overcome your stress and have a positive outlook. As a result, you will feel good in your skin and know that you are an individual worth investing in. Form the same mindset into every aspect of your life and you will be an extremely likeable individual.

Preventing Stress Sickness

Regular meditation can increase your body’s resistance to illness. Dr. Dean Ornish notes that meditation can lower your blood pressure. In turn, this can prevent heart attacks and other stress-related complications.

Meditating Consistently Allows Us to Enjoy Ourselves More

We live for joy and pleasure, after all, but the doors to those spaces are locked by stress and worry. Once you get the strings under control, you can enjoy life more. You’ll notice the details and begin to have more fun in every aspect of your life. In addition, you’ll be more passionate and your love for life will be renewed.

13: Encourages Kindness and Compassion

Meditation encourages kindness and compassion to others in two ways. First, when you meditate, it may evoke feelings of gratitude toward the people and relationships in your life.

We all have people we love and would do anything for. In fact, as you start to meditate regularly you may notice an increased tendency to feel grateful for the people in your life. For example, stroking your dog may be your favorite activity. You should be thankful he is in your life.

The second way meditation encourages kindness is by increasing your awareness of others. In this way, you may notice people in your life who need help. For example you may start to notice a homeless man who is begging for food or money. Become aware of how these people might need your help.

14: Can Reduce Anger

You may have trouble finding things to be grateful for. Gratitude in a general sense, rather than a neurotic obsession with getting precise things to thank God and the Universe for, is a practical way of looking at things.

The reasons for being grateful is a powerful solution for anger. Anger is a very harmful emotion. It harms the person expressing it, as well as the person receiving it. Anger can easily escalate out of control.

The negative aspects of anger that should be of greatest concern to you are the fact that it can become addictive. You can become dependent on it.

Anger is a defense mechanism. Perhaps you’ve had a rough childhood. Or, maybe you’re a control freak and it makes you feel safe in your world. Anger is a way to control yourself and change your environment. The issue is, it will not change the situation, but will damage your health and happiness in the process.

Start looking for alternatives to anger, like meditation. Learning how to manage your anger will allow you to see where it comes from. Without it, you can live your life free of unnecessary emotional pain, while still exercising your right to the expression of free speech.

15: Helps with Decision Making

Meditation can be a great way to help make decisions that balance the needs of all involved. In a world where everyone does whatever is best for themselves, it can contain the tendency to take a very selfish approach. It helps keep the needs of others in mind and think of what is best for everyone involved.

16: Encourages Mindfulness

Although the practice is a meditative one, mindfulness is a natural attention span exercise that we all need. While mindfulness meditation can help with the following, it is an overall life practice that can help you become more mindful in your daily life. With this, you can focus on the good things in life.

17: Fosters Creativity

When you’re practicing some kind of creativity (art, writing, music, etc. ) when is the last time you hit a wall and felt like nothing was coming together? We’ve all been there. Meditators experience less mental blocks and distractions when they get to this point.

It’s the result of tapping into your right brain and new wave brain activity. It allows your mind to open up to new ways of approaching a problem or creative project. Whether you’re brainstorming new ideas or fighting to get your words on paper for the first time is up to you.

One study showed that meditators also have stronger connections between the right and the left side of their brain than non-meditators. This new wave activity is why these two hemispheres work well together.

18: Improves Your Sex Life

You can also let go of any negative emotions both before and during sex. A good level of emotional connection will only deepen your orgasmic experience and let you enjoy life more in the future.

Meditation allows you to be present and surrender to your own pleasure. In that state, you will be able to feel sensations more profoundly.

Studies show that meditation increases blood flow to your genitalia, so meditation is a great way to improve your sex life.

19: Helps in Fighting Addictions

Those who practice anxiety-reducing methods like meditation can often fight off drug addiction and other forms of compulsive behavior. Those who struggle with smoking, drug, or alcohol addictions can greatly benefit from the practice. Aside from easing anxiety, meditation can help develop a sense of focus and strength that can significantly reduce the impulses to take part in mindless activities.

Cortisol, a stress hormone, is known to affect the cravings in the brain. According to studies, those who have low levels of cortisol tend to struggle with habits since dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter that leads to addiction, is released. Meditation is known to reduce cortisol levels and help manage the stress that leads to addiction.

Those who struggle with addiction can also gain from the practice of meditation. This is due to the fact that meditation leads to a sense of relaxation and wellness. When the body is relaxed, the will power to fight off the addiction is heightened and the body is more likely to push off the addiction.

20: Aids with Symptoms of Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Results from a study published in Clinical Neurophysiology suggest that mindfulness-based meditation may have a positive effect on the symptoms of ADHD. Thirty-four subjects with ADHD were randomized into two groups, one of which participated in an 8-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program while the other served as controls.

Each subject’s attention capacity and ability to sustain attention was measured both before and after the 8-week course and through comparison with the control group, a significant increase in attention capacity and sustained attention was observed in the experimental group, as well as a significant decrease in inattention ratings.

Since meditation has been shown to improve one’s ability to focus, it’s possible that meditation could similarly improve one’s ability to focus in those believed to be affected by ADHD.

21: Helps with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

A 2012 study, published in the journal “Behaviour Research and Therapy” found significantly reduced PTSD symptoms among veterans who participated in an 8-week training in mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR). Mindfulness meditation is a simple meditation practice where you take a moment right now, to focus your attention on your present experience in a non-judgmental manner. In this study, the participants were taught to focus on their breathing which was demonstrated, coached, and practiced by the researchers. The participants in the study were instructed to practice mindfulness daily for 20 minutes.

The research team found that the veterans showing the greatest improvements in PTSD symptoms and other measures of depression, anxiety, and anger were those that attended 90% or more of the groups meetings.

22: Delays the Onset of Alzheimer’s Disease

A study from 2007 showed that meditation can significantly reduce the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. It’s believed that this is because meditation supplies more oxygenated blood to the brain while at the same time reducing the stress hormone cortisol.

23: Has Therapeutic Advantages for Autism

There is more and more research providing evidence that areas of the brain associated with executive functioning are not properly integrated in those with autism. While there is no cure for autism, meditation a beneficial practice in reducing symptoms.

A study from the University of California in 2013 showed how the practice of loving-kindness meditation could help reduce repetitive behaviors in kids with autism. Researchers also found that meditation could improve relationships and result in positive changes in heart rate, blood pressure, and other stress hormones.

24: Reduces Loneliness

Meditation can help you reduce feelings of loneliness and anxiety. It is important to support your body in the difficult tasks of rebuilding health, repairing and reconditioning the body. Loneliness and anxiety may be signs that your body and your nervous system are telling you that you need more support. They can also be signs that detoxification is in progress, mold and heavy metals are being removed, viruses are dying, or that parasites are being cleared from your body.

These problems often get worse before they get better, so try and be compassionate with yourself if these feelings become more intense. Do not try to stop them. If you feel like you need help from a therapist, find one who specializes in anxiety and trauma.

25: Can Improve Your Romantic Relationship

A few years ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to spend two months as a meditation teacher in Mexico. It was a true immersion in this beautiful tradition.

During my early-morning wanderings along a deserted beach, I discovered a small ceremony taking place in a grove of trees. Scores of people dressed in white surrounded a central lamp.

These pilgrims were not celebrating Christianity, nor did they make sacrifices to the ancient Mayan gods. As I watched the ceremony unfold, I learned that these participants were, in fact, practicing a Buddhist tradition, and that the central light was a symbol of enlightenment.

As I watched, two things kept going through my head: "This is so beautiful," and, "I've never seen any of this stuff in the United States."

These thoughts are typical ones for Westerners who have a strong desire to practice meditation but find it challenging to do so. Fortunately, we now have scientific evidence to support the power of the practice in this modern age.

Hopefully, the information below will help you to overcome the obstacles that arise when it's time to pull away from the many distractions and obstacles that life offers us.

As the literal definition implies, mindfulness is a way of being completely aware of whatever is happening in your life right now. You may not always be aware of it, but the "now" moment is all we ever have. So why not make the most of it?

26: Advantages for New Mothers

The postpartum period is physically and mentally demanding. Meditation and yoga can be a helpful way to make sure you’re taking care of yourself and recovering after birth.

You may have heard that breastfeeding is important right away after birth, but it can be quite difficult and painful for some women at first. Breastfeeding can help soothe your baby.

If breastfeeding isn’t working out for you, it’s important to still try to have a positive relationship with your child. This helps your child feel safe. If you’re breastfeeding and have issues with pain or stress, yoga and meditation can help.

Meditation can also lead to increased self-awareness, which in turn can be helpful for you as you adapt to the changes in your life.

Meditation Benefits for Physical Health

Several studies have shown the brain changes of people that have been meditating for many years. They have larger brain mass in specific parts of the brain. These are the parts of the brain responsible for compassion, self-knowledge, and empathy. They show less stress related brain activity. Some research showed they had more gray matter in the hippocampus, meaning they had healthier brains and were less likely to be depressed.

Meditation Helps Relieve Anxiety

Anxiety is an overwhelming sense of fear, nervousness, or worry. Stress is one of the main reasons anxiety can develop. Meditation increases the brain’s ability to produce serotonin and dopamine. These are the feel good hormones that make you happy and calm.

In a study of people between ages 55 and 75, half of the group practiced a form of meditation and half practiced no form of meditation. Those that practiced meditation showed less brain activity in areas of the brain that occur during anxiety. They had lower levels of stress hormones.

The group that did not practice meditation showed an increase in stress and anxiety levels.

Meditation Improves Heart Health

Stress actually changes the heart rate and causes harmful blockages in the arteries. Meditation has been proven to reverse these effects. This is likely one of the main reasons that meditation is such a good way to reduce heart disease and improve overall heart health.

27: Encourages a Healthy Lifestyle

Studies show that those who meditated regularly were more accepting of their bodies than those who did not. This means that meditation can help you develop a healthy lifestyle that will eventually lead you to feeling better about yourself.

28: Reduces Back Pain

One of the best meditation benefits, especially for those who sit at a desk for a long period of time, is less back pain!

A lot of the ill effects of sitting are due to the way your posture shifts and the way your body is internally aligned. For example, your shoulder blades should be down and back, not hunched around your ears. Your neck should be naturally neutral, not strained forward toward the computer monitor.

The best way to achieve a healthy, pain-free alignment, is to practice mindfulness and meditation daily. When you are present with your body, you will be able to relax and open the muscles, which is exactly what you need for easing tension. Having tension and poor posture affect your breathing, which means your body doesn’t get the full benefit of oxygen, because the air isn’t moving through your lungs freely.

A good tip for diving into the practice of meditation, is to start by sitting comfortably, and noticing the breath. You can focus on each inhalation and each exhalation as it comes and goes. If your mind wanders, which it will, gently bring it back to the breath. Just be sure to stay in your body. Once you’re calm, you can then transition to a more meditation-y place by expanding your vision until you see the world around you.

29: Manages Chronic Pain

Meditation has been shown to reduce pain, anxiety, depression and disease severity in a variety of chronic disorders.

It’s not just a belief. It’s a list of verified benefits for those suffering from chronic pain, anxiety, heart rate through the roof, and wishing for a peaceful slumber.

It has also been shown that chronic stress can damage the parts of the brain associated with rational thinking, self-control and the ability to clearly see. Meditation and mindfulness can reduce symptoms or even reverse the brain changes caused by stress.

When we’re a little stressed out, we can usually think clearly enough to figure out that we feel overwhelmed, and we can pause to make room for deeper thinking. If we keep the emotional intensity of chronic stress going day after day, we won’t think as clearly as we normally would and our ability to reason with our emotions is reduced.

Meditation and mindfulness can help us reduce the negative thoughts and reactions that occur when we’re faced with too much stress. Regular meditation can also increase your ability to let go of your old emotional wounds and harmful ways of reacting.

That’s the better life that comes from taking a mindfulness meditation break.

30: Helps to Reduce Blood Pressure

Preliminary research indicates that people who practice mind-body techniques, such as meditation, may be less likely to develop high blood pressure than people who do not practice them.

31: Strengthens the Immune System

A 2014 University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) study examined the effects of an 8-week meditation course on a group of people who had never meditated before. The results? The participants ended the study feeling less stressed, more focused, and with improved immune function. The study’s researchers stated that the meditation promoted positive changes in the body by reducing levels of the stress hormone cortisol and increasing the levels of immune system cells called natural killer cells.

32: Helps those with Coronary Heart Disease

A sense of stillness shifts a person’s physiological state and promotes healthful heart rhythms. In a study of patients with coronary heart disease, people who meditated were able to decrease the amount of stress hormones circulating in their blood while lowering their blood pressure and heart rate.

A sense of hope is created through reflection. Physiological changes such as lowered blood pressure, an improved immune system, a lessened demand for medical services, and lowered stress hormones improve a person’s health. The heart becomes stronger and starts to quietly contribute to wellbeing, lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Through meditation, the ability to focus and concentrate heightens while stress, worry, and anxiety lessen. You will feel healthier, and your heart will become stronger, leading to a healthier you.

33: Has a Key Role to Play in Cancer Care

Research has increasingly demonstrated the importance of meditation in the health of cancer patients. Research also demonstrates the positive impact of meditation in cancer care.

In a study at Massachusetts General Hospital by David C. Mohr, MD, MPH and Sara W. Lazra, PhD, meditation training was found to significantly increase a sense of control, improve coping strategies, and decrease anxiety, depression, and fatigue and pain among patients with advanced cancer.

Dr. David C. Mohr recommends meditation as a component of any cancer treatment plan. Meditation enhances the ability to relax, manage pain, and to improve sleep.

A recent study by the University of Nottingham in England further confirms the positive health benefits of meditation in cancer patients.

In a study of people with breast cancer, researchers found that the group who participated in a 10-week mindfulness-based stress-reduction program, designed to raise awareness of psychological and physiological responses to cancer, had a sustained decrease in stress upon follow-up at 5 months.

The researchers also found that meditation can help those with a diagnosis of cancer, particularly for those who are physically active, and believe that they have the energy and power to help themselves recover.

Researchers also found that meditation could benefit cancer patients, including those that are in stages of remission.

34: Helps Stroke Survivors

Despite the lack of intervention, 60.7% of the patients in the MBSR group passed a 6-minute walking test, compared to 61.4% of those in the usual care group.

In multiple regression analyses, we found that the MBSR group had a significantly higher odds ratio of passing the 6-minute walking test (2.69; 95% confidence intervals, 1.32-5.54) after accounting for baseline measures of disability, depression, anxiety, and pain.

35: Aids those Suffering from Asthma

And Sleep Apnea.

People who suffer from clinical depression and sleep apnea often have a higher rate of other ailments. The same is true with asthma. It's thought that this may be because of a weakened immune system.

One of the benefits of meditation is that your immune system surges, making your body more equipped to fight against disease and infection.

Asthmatics and sleep-apneics experience a reduction in symptoms when regularly practicing meditation.

Studies have indicated that meditation:

ÖDecreases lung capacity by 20 to 29 percent.

ÖDecreases the risk of asthma-related hospitalization.

ÖDecreases the amount of medication needed to control asthma.

36: Helps People with Psoriasis

Meditation can be a powerful tool in the treatment of psoriasis. This skin condition is a skin disorder, which can cause extreme discomfort and pain. Many who suffer from the skin condition have found certain elements in the process of meditation to help them combat the pain and irritation.

There is a distinct process to combat the discomfort, however. Patients suffering from psoriasis should start with one session per day. After the first week they should look to increase the time to 15 minutes if they feel comfortable. The average time for meditation sessions is 10 to 20 minutes.

There are also meditation programs that actually focus on psoriasis sufferers. Peilla Acupressure Institute is a great example. They start by offering a one one basis, then move on to small workshops.

The increased results people have experienced can be attributed to the three main components to their plan:

Traditional Acupressure Points: Peilla focuses on specific regions of the body that are commonly affected for those with psoriasis. This is most similar to acupuncture, in which they stick with the beats to relax muscles. Relaxing muscles is especially helpful for those with rashes and skin irritation.

37: Helps with the Effects of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

As if PMS wasn’t enough to make us crazy, meditation can also help the symptoms. Many studies have found that meditation can help reduce psychological and even physical pain. These findings are so exciting to the PMS community because PMS has the following symptoms:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Premature aging
  • Food cravings
  • Headaches
  • Cramps
  • Migraines
  • High blood pressure
  • Menstrual pain
  • Sleep disturbances

38: Encourages Weight Loss

There are many different reasons to try meditation, but let’s start with the most practical one, shall we? A study published in Obesity, weekly peer-reviewed medical journal that presents novel information from basic research that may be of clinical importance, found adults who participated in a 6-month mindfulness-based weight loss program lost an average of nearly 8 pounds. That’s a lot of money saved on new clothes!

In the study, 32 of the 48 participants were randomized to the intervention group (those who received the mindfulness-based program) and the remaining 16 were randomized to the control group. The mindfulness-based program included 30-minute group classes once per week and participants were also asked to engage in a 30-minute daily home practice.

Those who took part in the mindfulness-based program reported more favorable views toward eating and anticipated being able to make healthier choices, enjoy their food more and deal with negative emotions around eating.

Study Conclusion: Self-reported meditation practice predicted better self-reported weight loss at 6-months and the benefit increased over the length of the program.

39: Slows Down the Aging Process

(though not the ageing process.)

Research suggests that meditation can slow down the aging process in the brain.

A 2013 study showed that long-term meditators had larger amounts of gyrification (folding in the cortex) than non-meditators.

The cortical gyrification index (CGI) is a measure of how much surface of the brain is covered by outer patches of gray and white matter. The higher the number, the more surface area is covered.

The control group had an average gyrification index of 102, while the long-term meditators had an average of 115.

The researchers believe that this may be because long-term meditators may have a thicker cortex, which would account for the larger number.

Having a thicker cortex is thought to possibly allow the nervous system to send signals more quickly, which could have long-term cognitive benefits.

General Meditation Benefits

Meditation has been scientifically proven to be an effective treatment for anxiety disorders, high blood pressure, headaches, insomnia, depression, and chronic pain.

Aside from the medical benefits, one of the greatest benefits of meditation is a clear, focused, and open mind.

Here are some of the most common benefits that come from regularly meditating,.

  • Boosting focus
  • Reducing anxiety
  • Overcoming addiction
  • Improving memory
  • Relieving Insomnia
  • Improving self-control
  • Lessening Depression
  • Boosting creativity
  • Increasing willpower
  • Increasing happiness
  • Improving cardiovascular health
  • Improving self-awareness
  • Reducing stress
  • Improving relationships
  • Learning how to sleep better
  • Making you more resilient
  • Improving your brain health

40: Affordable or Free!

Retreats can cost hundreds of dollars per day, but there are many free methods you can try. Here are some I’ve tried, feel free to mix and match:

  • Yoga poses
  • Contemplative Prayer
  • Presence Meditation
  • Gratitude Meditation
  • Chakra Breathing
  • Inquiry Meditation
  • Centering Prayer
  • Guided Imagery
  • Heartfulness Meditation
  • Walking Meditation
  • Bhakti Yoga
  • Ham Utterance

{1}. There are many guided meditations available online for almost nothing.
{2}. You can use one of your practices from another spiritual path (ex: Buddhist practices)
{3}. You can find other free guided meditations online (ex: Breath Counting)
{4}. Creating your
{5}. You can use a free app
{6}. You can turn prayers/requests into physical entities and ho
{7}. You can do meditation in nature.
{8}. Try the 21-day meditation challenge!
{9}. Try the TV Medita
{10}. Try the Headspace app.
{11}. There are many religious groups, local temples and centers, and meetup groups that have free meditation happenings.
{12}. There are free online classes.

41: No Physical Exertion

Meditation doesn’t require you to break a sweat with intense physical activity. You can simply sit or lay in a position that is comfortable for you.

However, keep in mind that meditation does benefit from a regular exercise routine. This routine can include things like: running, walking, cycling, swimming, calisthenics, and weight lifting.

There is no rule that you can’t meditate and exercise at the same time. We would highly recommend meditating before going for a run, walk, or bike ride.

Doing so will clear your mind and help you focus while you’re working out.

42: Easy to Access

You can meditate almost anywhere, using your own or a combination of the following: your breath, music, verbal repetition of a mantra, an object of focus, or simply being attentive to what is happening around you (such as observing a breeze pass through a tree, or the thoughts, smells and sounds around you, etc.).

When you meditate, you can be in a place where many people are grappling with mental demons, including the obsession to harm themselves or others, but those around you may not know it. In fact, you can be watching someone else meditate and not know it.

For many prisoners, meditation has been a helpful tool in keeping them from returning to a life of crime. When people are in a good place mentally, they are more likely to be a positive influence on others and less likely to engage in destructive behaviors. Providing a space to get to a good place mentally can benefit everyone.

Meditation doesn’t require any specific religious practice or affiliations, but if you believe in the power of meditation, it may enhance your spiritual life. If you’re a spiritual leader in your community, meditation can help you connect with the divine and be a conduit for delivering pertinent information (or a peace message) to your congregations.