The healthful benefits of meditation have been known for centuries among the Eastern cultures of the world. The Buddhist monks practiced meditation daily in their remote monasteries. Various peoples and groups have made meditation the foundation of their spiritual practices, and in modern times these benefits are finally being lauded by health care professionals, spiritual leaders, and scientists alike.
Mindfulness meditation is a type of healthy meditation which has been proven to reduce anxiety and stress. This, in turn, reduces the risk factors for contracting some diseases and health problems.
Mindfulness meditation involves looking at what happens in the present time rather than seeking to change the person as they currently are. It is a means of learning to be present with whatever is happening in real time and not to try to turn reality into something else. This method of meditation is a means of revealing to us our inherent wisdom and teaches us how to accept any pain or unpleasantness we may currently be experiencing rather than attempting to deny it or ignore it.
To date, there have been more than 3,000 scientific studies conducted to determine the benefits of meditation on the mind and body and the latest to date is from Harvard University. The results of these studies have been nothing less than astounding. The studies were conducted on many different forms of meditation. Results were analyzed, verified, and recorded by scientists, mental health professionals, and medical experts.
Documented benefits of meditation on the mind and the body include:
1. Improvement Of Focus And Mental Cognition
Meditation cleared the mental fog of many study subjects, freeing their minds of unnecessary “clutter” and worries and making for better focus and understanding of nearly every topic presented following the meditation session. Analysis of MRI imagery revealed: “increased grey-matter density in the hippocampus, known to be important for learning and memory, and in structures associated with self-awareness, compassion and introspection.”
2. More Efficient Problem-Solving And Decision-Making Abilities
Before meditative sessions, test subjects were given written word problems involving both general and moral dilemmas and asked to record their best answers to resolving each. Following meditation, they were given questionnaires containing similar scenarios to be solved, and the results were not only more concise and well thought-out, but the test subjects also answered the questions in significantly less time than the pre-meditation ones.
3. Increased Energy Levels And Boosted Immune Systems
Study participants showed marked increases in energy levels as well as healthier immune systems following regular meditation. Recent studies have shown that practice of meditation can have a beneficial impact on clinical symptoms of gastrointestinal diseases.
4. Reduced Hypertension And Mental Symptoms
Participation in regular meditation sessions proved to reduce high blood pressure significantly and to reduce greatly or altogether eliminate menstrual cramps, depression, headaches, and other unpleasant symptoms related to menstruation.
5. Elimination Of Overeating And Smoking Related To Stress
Meditation eliminated nearly 100% of stress-related cigarette smoking and overeating in study subjects who had indicated a predisposition to such behaviors.
6. Promotes More Restful Sleep, Eliminates Insomnia
Meditation shortly before bedtime resulted in deeper and more restful sleep and helped do away with insomnia in test participants who had indicated that they suffered from the condition before the study.
More and more positive benefits of meditation are being discovered every day. Society no longer sees the practice as a “New Age gimmick” but rather as a means of de-stressing the brain and the body for a more healthy and enjoyable existence.