About 8% of the population in the US practice meditation. At the same time, 1 in 5 people in the country experiences poor mental health in a given year. Generally, the overall outlook of our mental health is fragile, on the brink of a meltdown in the present time. Where the picture of our mental wellbeing is not very bright, there is hope as meditation becomes a mainstream wellness trend.
Meditation has been applauded for the wealth of health benefits that it poses. However, it is only now that research has confirmed the incredible ways in which it heals and improves your mental health. The neurological effects of mindfulness meditation are positive and varied, ranging from enhanced connectivity between the brain cells to improved responses to stress.
Hence, without further ado, let’s dig out the chief ways in which meditation can help better your mental well-being:
1. Meditation assists in fighting anxiety
Mindfulness mediation is greatly lauded for its role in fending off anxiety including social anxiety. It works to culminate changes in the brain regions that are responsible for better attention as well as getting rid of social anxiety.
Essentially, a new class of meditation is appreciated for its role in reducing stress and anxiety. It goes by the name of Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR). It is a work of Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts.
2. It helps lessen stress
In tandem with what we discussed above, meditation works wonders in reducing stress. Research indicates that practicing meditation changes the brain. Only three days of practice can show up changes in the brain region in a scan.
Brain scans indicate improved activity in the areas that correlate with improved focus, stress management, and calmness. Moreover, blood tests also show a decline in one of the markers of inflammation. This means that mindfulness changes your physical response to stress too. Therefore, it is only natural to comprehend that meditation helps deal with stress.
3. It reduces depression
In addition to fending off stress and anxiety, mindfulness meditation can also extend help in managing depression. To this end, experts have paired the practice with cognitive behavioral therapy. As a result, a person can fight depression.
Over and above that, mindfulness meditation also plays a helpful role in preventing an episode of relapse when it comes to depression. In certain cases, it works to take the place of antidepressants, making it an effective way to ward off further depression.
4. It boosts your concentration and attention
Meditation can also help you focus and concentrate better on matters at hand. In a study, it was learned that participants who meditated performed better on the GRE tests by noticing an improvement in their memory and concentration.
The same study also noted that participants showed better test scores. In simple words, this means that meditation is helpful in improving cognitive skills. Therefore, meditation can boost your memory, attention span, as well as concentration.
5. It assists in keeping brain aging at bay
An aging brain is more prone to falling a victim to psychiatric illnesses. However, you can slow the aging clock from taking its toll on your mind by meditating. Basically, mindfulness meditation works to prevent the loss of grey matter volume in the brain.
Research that drew a comparison between meditators and non-meditators found out that meditators had well-preserved brains in contrast with meditators. Subsequently, we know that meditation can help maintain brain health, thus, chopping the odds of age-related cognitive ailments.
In a nutshell, mindfulness meditation poses multiple benefits for your brain and mental well-being. You can always talk practice meditation yourself or join a group.