How Meditation Can Promote Mental Wellness
If you’re new to meditation, you’re probably wondering how meditation works and how it can help you. Throughout this article, we’re going to take a deeper look into this ancient therapy and understand why it has helped so many people throughout time.
What is Meditation?
Meditation comes in a variety of forms for a variety of purposes. However, at its core, meditation is a practice that forces you to think deeper and maintain mental focus. Through this practice, it’s believed that you can obtain a sense of calmness and, potentially, inner peace. Both of which can help promote mental wellness.
For some time now, psychologists have been curious as to whether or not meditation actually has an effect on people. More particularly, in reducing symptoms of various mental health conditions.
In a review of 18,000 scientific studies, published by the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers discovered that meditation can help relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression. In a separate study published by the journal Psychiatry Review, researchers found that Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programs significantly reduced stress in generalized anxiety disorder.
Due to the quantity of research showing the positive effects of meditation, there are a number of mindful-based therapies you can ask your physician about. While they aren’t always the standard for a treatment plan, they can be incorporated when requested.
Does Meditation Really Work?
One of the reasons so many people turn to meditation is it allows them to process and manage negative emotions. As mentioned, the purpose of this practice is to think deeper and maintain a mental focus. While we’re in this state of mind, we have the ability to understand why we feel certain ways about specific life situations.
This kind of thinking has helped people overcome trauma from childhood, embarrassment from a recent event, and anger towards their life situation. Remember, all the negative emotions you may be feeling are within yourself. With that, the answer to overcoming them also must be within you. And that’s ultimately the purpose of meditation, to discover the positivity that’s already within you.
While this may sound a bit “out there” to some people, scientific data has proven people are able to overcome negative emotions when practicing meditation.
In a 2016 study published by Consciousness and Cognition, 27 people got together to see if meditation could help them manage their anger. 15 of these participants were completely new to the practice.
The first step of this study asked everyone to revisit a moment within their lives that made them angry. It was observed that those who had not practiced meditation had a number of symptoms often associated with anger, including:
Increased blood pressure
Increased heart rate
Contrary to those who had never experienced meditation, those who did showed significantly fewer symptoms when revisiting their moment of anger.
For the second step of this study, participants who had never practiced meditation were asked to do so for about 20 minutes. From there, they were again asked to relive their moment of anger. After meditation, they too showed significantly fewer symptoms.
The Importance of Meditation
One of the biggest reasons people are turning to meditation is it helps them manage stress. In many regards, stress is one of the leading causes of both physical and mental illnesses. Some of these include:
Changes in sex drive
High blood pressure
Risk of headaches
Since the majority of Americans experience stress on a regular basis - 8 out 10, to be exact - it comes as no surprise people are seeking a way to relieve this mental burden. By managing our stress, we have the opportunity to better manage other aspects of our health.
The thing about meditation is it doesn’t take much to overcome some of the biggest obstacles within our lives. One study published by Psychoneuroendocrinology reported that people who experienced meditation for just 25 minutes a day had improved their ability to handle stressful situations.
The current situation of the world has left many of us stuck in our homes with more time than ever on our hands. If we decide to, this can be a time to improve our mental wellness and overcome some of the mental burdens we’ve struggled with until this point.
Meditation has proven to be a potential antidote to stress and, with that, a prospective remedy for mental health conditions. Of course, not everyone will benefit from meditation. We understand that different brains require different relieving techniques.
However, if you haven’t given meditation a chance, now is the time to do so. Just 20 minutes a day could completely change the way you’ve been living your life.