Benefits of Meditation
Beyond finding a sense of calm in daily life, meditation has a number of other tangible benefits including physical, emotional, and social improvements in our lives.
Anxiety can be debilitating in many different ways, but a common thread is the feeling of being out of control. Meditation helps people accept these challenging emotions and learn to soften them. An article entitled Meditation and Emotion Regulation summarized a study that found meditation helped in reducing negative emotions and increasing emotional recovery.
Sleep is vitally important for the body and mind, and yet so many people struggle with it. According to a study done in 2015, participants put in a mindfulness program had significant improvements in sleep quality with a secondary outcome that showed decreases in “sleep-related daytime impairment” such as “depression, anxiety, stress, and fatigue.”
Today we are more stimulated than ever, and this has led to difficulties with focus. Mindfulness acts like a windshield wiper to provide a clearer view on life. It allows people to feel grounded and able to process the overwhelming world around them. It allows for brief but effective resets to improve focus and decrease mental frustration.
A mindfulness practice builds self-appreciation and develops a healthy relationship with one’s own emotions. With this comes the ability to empathize on a deeper level and to help others cope with suffering or pain. There was a study that was analyzed by Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas that displayed an increase in empathetic actions after the subject’s took an eight week mindfulness meditation class.
Mindful meditation has been shown to increase satisfaction with life. A study in the Netherlands by Esther I. de Bruin showed that children and adolescents who underwent a mindfulness program showed improvements in “happiness, self-regulation, and quality of life.” It has the ability to change the brain’s neural pathways in a direction that enriches the human experience.
The preliminary results of studies on the cellular effects of mindfulness meditation indicate potential positive impacts on inflammation, cell-mediated immunity, and biological aging. In addition to these findings, 80% of medical schools in the United States are currently implementing mindfulness programs to help in compassion burnout, patient wellness, and research programs.