There’s been a lot of talk regarding meditation lately, but is any of it backed by science? It’s suggested as a way to help lessen anxiety and decrease stress, improve your focus, and clear your mind. It all sounds good in theory, but some remain skeptical. If you think meditation is something that “might help other people” but wouldn’t work for you, science is here to save the day. It turns out that there are many long-term benefits of meditation that are scientifically proven.
Long-Term Benefits of Meditation That Are Backed by Science
Just like exercise, healthy eating, and even car maintenance, meditation needs to be an on-going process to see the results. You wouldn’t expect to lose weight after hitting the gym just once, would you?
Meditation works the same way. To reap the lasting benefits, it should be practiced long-term and regularly. Seeing these amazing effects is possible once you get into a meditation routine.
Lower Levels of Cortisol in the Body
Cortisol is a hormone in our bodies that plays a wide variety of roles. It helps regulate metabolism, our immune system, and plays a key role in how we process stress. It’s made in our adrenal glands and then pumped into our blood to circulate through each body system. Cortisol affects every part of how we function.
When too much cortisol is produced, it can wreak havoc on our bodies. High cortisol levels can cause everything from weight gain to high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, and low libido. Luckily, meditation can help keep these levels in check.
Academic studies have shown that one long-term benefit of meditation is the reduction of cortisol. This means meditation, with long-standing practice, can help our overall physical health improve.
Improve Your Memory, Focus, and Attention Span
It’s been shown that just eight weeks of daily meditation can lead to improved short-term memory. Not only does the study show that short-term memory can be improved through meditation, but so can your ability to focus and your attention span. Those in the study showed improved levels of focus and were documented to have switched tasks less frequently throughout the day. If you find yourself struggling to stay on-task at work, meditation may be right for you.
Manage Chronic Health Conditions
Meditation can help manage chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, mental health disorders, addiction, chronic pain, insomnia, tension, headaches, and more. Again, this is a long-term practice that can show benefits, and changes shouldn’t be expected overnight. The leading cause of these benefits comes from the reduction in blood pressure, hypertension, and irritability, all caused by high levels of cortisol. Of course, meditation alone is not a medical treatment for these conditions and cannot cure them. Any serious illness should be addressed with your physician.
Improve Your Mood
If you’ve participated in meditation for an extended period of time and come to see the long-term benefits in your daily life, you’re probably experiencing a sense of relief. Some of the things that may have been weighing you down now don’t feel quite as heavy. With lower levels of cortisol, aka the stress hormone, your mood is more likely to improve.
How to Reap the Long-Term Benefits of Meditation
The best thing about meditation is that it doesn’t require anything at all, besides yourself. It also doesn’t have to consume your day, and it won’t interfere with your daily responsibilities. All you need is 15 to 20 minutes in a quiet spot to clear your mind and focus on your breath.
You can play some meditation music, learn new meditation breathing exercises, or even download a meditation app to help you get started. Follow the Meditation section on GR8NESS for the latest and GR8EST news, tips, and tricks to make the most out of your meditation sessions.