People have been meditating for centuries. The first recorded mentions of meditation are from 1500 BCE, more than 3,000 years ago. If tradition has survived that long, it has to be good for something. Science has cast a modern eye on ancient meditation and discovered a startling collection of health benefits. While it may not cure cancer, we’ve found there are many reasons to meditate.
Meditation: Stress’ Worst Nightmare
Meditation, or practicing mindfulness, has been a part of religious ceremonies for as far back as we have records. Why? Because of the inner peace it can bring. These days, we would call it a relaxation method or a stress-killer. If you’re feeling stressed or you suffer from anxiety, meditation can help you. It’s even believed to essentially reverse molecular damage caused by stress!
Studies show that meditation leads to a significant reduction in anxiety across multiple scales, as well as mental stress. Meditation doesn’t even need to take up your whole day to be effective. Twenty-five-minutes daily was enough for volunteers to experience positive results.
Meditation helps clear away the “information overload,” allowing for better focus. This can bring fresh perspectives on issues and build stress management skills. Clearing away the mental noise can help you relax and reduce the stress caused by the daily grind.
Meditation helps clear away the information overload, allowing for better focus.
Reducing stress and anxiety can also decrease your chances of developing depression and may even cure it. One reason for this may be because mindfulness helps you develop ways to deal with stressful or depressing thoughts. Research shows that meditation may even be as effective as popular depression medication, without any of the side effects that come with the pills.
Clear Mind, Healthy Body
Meditation benefits more than your emotions. By reducing your stress and anxiety, mindfulness helps the rest of your body. The influcence of stress on our heart health is well-documented, so it makes sense that meditation would improve this.
Not only can meditation lower your blood pressure, practicing mindfulness can moderate your heart rate. It’s no wonder that meditation lowers your risk for heart attack and stroke.
Not only can meditation lower your blood pressure, practicing mindfulness can moderate your heart rate.
Some studies have even linked meditation to an improved immune system, slowing the growth of HIV, and even cancer. Meditation won’t cure cancer, but it can help you deal with the anxiety and stress that come with a cancer diagnosis. It can also aid patients dealing with chronic pain and nausea associated with cancer treatment.
A landmark study from 2016 found that mindfulness reduces levels of Interleukin-6, an inflammation biomarker. While not the direct cause of disease, inflammation is a symptom of many illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. By combatting inflammation, meditation can lower your risk of inflammation-related diseases.
Even if you don’t have a chronic disease or aren’t stressed, meditation can be beneficial for you. While it’s impossible to stop aging entirely, meditation slows your brain’s aging.
Researchers from UCLA found that the brains of meditators experience less mental decline and more preservation of grey matter. This, along with the other emotional and physical factors of mindfulness, can aid you in combatting many degenerative brain diseases, like Alzheimer’s or dementia.
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Meditation is a great way to cut stress out of your life while cultivating long-lasting and long-reaching health benefits. Taking as little as 25 minutes is enough to change your life, so why not try it out?
Huffington Post — Meditation Health Benefits: What The Practice Does To Your Body
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