Meditation has been practiced by people for thousands of years, and it’s benefits have long been known. But it’s only recently that science has been able to confirm what meditators all over the world have been saying for centuries. There are many benefits of meditation, which will be highlighted in this article. Meditation is wonderful for your brain and general well being.
Here is a quick summary of the findings of recent studies into the benefits of meditation-
Brain scans of meditators show increased activity in regions of the brain associated with reduced feelings of anxiety and depression and increased pain tolerance.
Meditators have more alpha brain waves. These brain waves reduce negative moods, tension and anger and increase positivity.
After an 8 week meditation program, meditation was shown to physically change participants brain shape and size. There was an increase in grey matter in areas of the brain associated with learning, memory and emotion and a decrease in grey matter in the amygdala, which is related to stress, blood pressure and fear.
A study was also conducted looking at the relationship between meditation and immune function. Meditators and Non-Meditators where both given the flu virus. Meditators were shown to produce more antibodies to fight the virus than the control group.
The scientific power of meditation is becoming more recognised. So jump on your meditation pillow and give it a try!
Watch this video for a little more information about what meditation does.
But how do I meditate?
Most of us are so used to going about our days completely in our heads. Governed by our thoughts, our feelings and emotions, often without any control whatsoever.
Meditation can help you to come out of your head and back to reality, back to the here and now.
It’s pretty tricky when you first get started. The mind is so active, and it’s so used to being this way, that it won’t shut up! And that’s completely normal. Just sit in a quiet spot, on a chair or on a cushion, making sure you have a straight spine.
And just sit. Close your eyes. Set an alarm for 5 minutes when you first start practising, gradually adding another minute every day (until you get to 20 or 30 minutes).
Every time you start to follow a thought, bring your attention back. Feel the body sitting. Fell the breath moving through you. Fall into the stillness. Notice the smells of the space you are in, the sounds. Stay completely aware and present with where you are. That is all.