Meditation Effects on the Mind and Body

A lot of people think that meditation is only about stopping negative thoughts and getting rid of unwanted emotions.  Meditation is certainly much more than that. Meditation techniques allow people to see their individual thoughts clearly, without making judgments, in order to achieve a more relaxed and focused mind.

It may seem a paradox to some, but this relaxed state can allow and invoke increased clarity and focus in judgement and thinking.

Here are a few positive ways meditation affects your mind and body.

Reduced Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke

Studies show that meditation leads to an increase of activity in the parasympathetic nervous system.  This is the part of the body that regulates the process of “rest-and-digest” which is the flipside of the body’s adrenalin-fuelled fight or flight response.

An increase in the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system will reflexively allow the lungs to make deeper breaths thereby leading to slower heart beats which will also result in more relaxed blood vessels.

Research reveals that regular practice of meditation can lower one’s blood pressure by as much as 4 points. This is good news indeed to people who are at risk of heart disease.

A study published in the journal titled Circulation showed that people who chose to take up a class on Transcendental Meditation at the start of the study were found after five years to have 48% reduced risk of stroke and heart attack.

This result was not evident among study participants who only decided to take up health education classes.

Increased Levels of Creativity

People who participated in open-monitoring meditation showed an improvement in their levels of creativity as they performed better at formulating new ideas relative to the tasks given to them.  This finding was based on a study conducted in April 2012 and was published in Frontiers in Cognition.

Larger Amounts of Gray Matter

Research conducted at UCLA unveiled another interesting finding about meditation and its ability to help increase the amount of gray matter found in the frontal areas of the brain and the hippocampus. A three-dimensional, high-resolution MRI was used to make measurements and compare the brains of control subjects and those who practiced meditation.  They discovered that meditators have larger cerebral measurements as well as increased gray matter in specific areas of the brain.

Experts believe that this could be the reason behind why regular practitioners of meditation have an outstanding ability to control their emotions and respond positively to whatever situation comes their way.

Boosts the Immune System

There have also been studies conducted with regard to the effects of meditation on a person’s immune system.  In one study, some volunteers were given flu shots and were asked to meditate for eight weeks while the second group of study participants only had flu shots and did not meditate. The results of the study were published in Psychosomatic Medicine and showed that the group who meditated was found to have produced higher levels of antibodies compared to people who did not meditate.

These are just few of the many benefits backed up by research and study papers that one can get out of regular meditation. These benefits have been measured and proven amongst numerous groups of people. There are also other benefits too! There is no expensive equipment to buy to get started. Even if you have not tried it, there is a wealth of instruction readily available.