Evidence suggests meditation has been around since 1500 BCE, making it over 3500 years old. Yet the art of meditation only spread to Western society thousands of years later, and has only really gained household popularity in the last decade.
What is about this ancient art form that’s survived the test of time and why do so many religions and gurus swear by its healing properties?
We’ve chosen our top 10 benefits –
- It boosts Positive Emotions
Powerful contemplative meditations like loving-kindness act as triggers for positive emotions. When we recall and allow ourselves to cultivate loving feelings, not only does it boost our mood, but we can more easily access those feelings after the mood has passed.
- Positive effect on our Physical Health
Meditating encourages us to relax and therefore helps to reduce our stress level and boosts our immunity. It has also been proven to boost our immunity.
- Helps fight Depression
Results now show that MBCT (Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy) is just as effective as anti-depressants in fighting mental illness. This is revolutionary for those who are prone to bouts of depression.
- Encourages Empathy
Meditation increases activity in the inferior frontal gyrus and the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex of our brains, both of which are associated with empathy.
- Improves Concentration
Through meditation, learning to bring our wandering minds back to the anchor of our breath time and time again, builds focus and improves our concentration levels.
- Improves Awareness
Meditation allows us to assess our inner landscapes (or mindscapes) and to really explore what’s going on. With regular practice, this increased awareness of our thoughts and emotions, spills into every aspect of our lives and allows better self-management.
- More aware of Conscious Choice
The more we meditate, the more we realise thoughts are not reality and become aware of the power we have over them. We can learn to actively respond, not react to things.
- Reduces our tendency to Obsess
Once we start to notice the triggers for negative and obsessive thought patterns we can begin to make a conscious effort to stop them. Through mindfulness, we can put a stop to poisonous, obsessive thoughts before they become spirals of negativity.
- Nourishes our Wellbeing
Meditation is a way to cleanse the mind of its worries and concerns. As we become more relaxed and in control, we nourish our wellbeing and mental health.
- Helps us find Inner Peace
The more time we spend alone with our thoughts, the more we understand ourselves and what makes us happy (something which is increasingly difficult in this busy and distracting digital age). We can then make lifestyle changes to align with our values and ultimately lead more peaceful, fulfilled lives.