You’ve probably heard a lot about the health benefits of meditation.
But one question you may be asking yourself is…
Is it really THAT effective?
To answer that question, we’re going to examine the actual, tangible benefits that meditation can provide.
And ask whether or not it’s worth the time.
Let’s jump in and get down to it.
What Is Meditation?
Meditation is where a person uses a mental exercise or technique (such as mindfulness or focus) to intentionally control attention patterns and awareness. This is used to create a mentally stable, calm, and peaceful state of mind within the individual.
It’s alleged to have many benefits. But is meditation really all it’s cracked up to be?
Let’s dive into history a bit to start.
The Origins Of Meditation
According to history, the first reference to meditation can be seen in the Vedas, which was written around the time of 1500 BCE. But meditation has also long been touted as a spiritual and religious practice in the traditions of Hinduism.
Upanished Hindu texts speak of meditation as a method for removing ignorance, acquiring knowledge, and achieving ‘oneness’ with the absolute.
More different forms of meditation spread out from there. It can be found in the histories of Taoism and Buddhism, and really only became more common as time progressed.
The Benefits Of Meditation
According to Mindful.org, there are at least five beneficial reasons to meditate.
- To understand your pain
- To lower stress
- To connect better
- To improve your focus
- To reduce brain chatter/noise
These are obviously benefits that could make the practice useful. But are they real?
In other words, can someone actually derive these benefits from meditating?
To figure this out, we need to look a bit closer at the science.
The Science Of Meditation
There is a lot of documentation provided on the NIH website (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health) about meditation, and whether or not it has any health benefits.
You can read the entire document here.
But here’s the gist of it.
There is at least some scientific evidence to support the fact that meditation helps with:
- Reducing blood pressure
- Helping with irritable bowel syndrome
- Easing symptoms of anxiety, depression, and insomnia
- Quitting smoking
- Reducing stress
- Improving overall quality of life
- Mood and self-esteem enhancement
Are There Any Side Effects?
Meditation is said to be considered safe for most people.
With that being said, there have been some rare reports of meditation making some psychiatric problems, like anxiety and depression, worse in some people.
But those reports are rare, and certainly don’t seem to be the ‘norm.’
So Is Meditation Good For You After All?
As it turns out, there seems to be a lot more good that can come from meditation than bad.
As a general rule, it’s at least a safe and pleasurable activity.
Plus, you may gain the added benefit of one or more of it’s scientific medical health advantages as well.
It’s not a miracle cure, and shouldn’t be used in place of actual medical care.
But for the vast majority of people, meditation seems to be a huge benefit in all kinds of ways.