Meditation is an age-long practice suspected of having a series of health benefits for the user. People engage in meditation to reduce stress, calm their nerves, improve sleep, reduce pain, and lower the risk of heart disease.
Meditation can be likened to a mini vacation that lets you go through stress. The act engages the breath accompanied with quiet contemplation and laser focus on an object like a phrase or sound. Ultimately, you let go of stress and enjoy a calm feeling.
Everyone has a natural alarm system called stress. It triggers the flight or fight response by releasing adrenaline which increases the rate of breathing and makes the blood pressure rise. It fuels one into action, which can be a lifesaver should there be an imminent threat.
However, the stress hormone can negatively affect the body when not controlled. Yet, stress is the precursor for many health issues like stroke, heart issues, high blood pressure, etc. With meditation, one can manage stress and all its aftermath.
Here are various ways meditation improves health:
Meditation can Reduce Cell Aging
The natural division of cells is expected to be one age that triggers cell aging through life. However, stress affects it, as it can lead to an increase or decrease. Meditation affects telomere, a specific type of protein located at the chromosome that guards them against aging.
Based on an experiment, scientists discovered that survivors of breast cancer who practiced MBSR had preserved telomere length compared to those who didn’t. According to studies, people who practiced meditation for a long time had better telomere lengths. The study also concluded that other supportive therapies impacted telomere length.
Another 2018 study connected mindfulness training to heightened telomere activities. As a result, it indicated that meditation is indirectly linked to the action of cell telomeres. This explains why there might be a positive effect of meditation on aging.
Improve Pain Response
Meditation can also help adjust pain perception and how the body responds. There is more to pain than the physical experience of discomfort. For instance, when you receive a considerable punch, you experience tightened muscles with an increased heartbeat. This is the secondary response to pain. One will also experience an emotional response – the anxiety that arises from the pain.
Interestingly, meditation can address the secondary and emotional pain response, unknown to many people. According to a study in 2020 involving 6,400 participants, 60 trials showed that meditation could bring down pain from victims of chronic or acute pain.
Meditation will not necessarily make the pain disappear. Even though one still feels the pain sensation, the response differs, alongside a better response which improves one’s coping with chronic pain. One can use shop organic CBD paste while meditation to make it easy to concentrate while meditating. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD will also help reduce pain.
It can Fight Addiction
Meditation can realign the brain receptors in charge of alcohol and drug addiction. This might reduce the desire for such substances. Besides, meditation raises one’s awareness of craving to manage it better. The healing is in the understanding as it equips one to rise above the desire for the substance, with a high tendency of overcoming it. In other words, one will be aware of the affinity for the substance, but it will be easy to avoid giving in.
Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation published a journal in 2018 that discovered that mindfulness could help limit the tendency of future relapse for addicted people. This can be traced to the therapeutic effect, which adjusts the brain’s perception of pleasure.
Possibility of Reducing Cognitive Decline
Age comes with various baggage like cognitive decline and loss of short-time memory. However, meditation might also reduce cognitive decline in older adults, especially those with Alzheimer’s disease.
A study in 2016 explored the effect of mindfulness meditation on some older adults, which spanned two years. The study involved various groups in which each group had mindful meditation, cognitive stimulation, relaxation treatment, and no treatment.
Without a doubt, the relaxation training and cognitive stimulation group had some improvement compared to the group without treatment; there was a noticeable and robust improvement in the group with mindfulness training.
A study in 2017 explored the explored brain function in old and healthy adults. Based on this study, people aged 55 and 75 were subjected to either breathing meditation or a control activity for eight weeks. After this, they were subjected to a test that checked their emotion and attention while monitoring the brain using electroencephalography. The class for breath-taking revealed better awareness on the test, with more activity on the brain part in charge of attention than the control group. The study suggests that meditation can increase attention.
Can Manage Anxiety or Depression
Anxiety results from being carried away by what might happen in the future or what has happened in the past. One of the most common benefits of mindfulness is anxiety relief, as it engages the mind to focus on the moment. This way, you are less likely to be fixated on thoughts that might trigger anxiety or depression.
Based on a 2014 research from JAMA Internal Medicine, it was discovered that mindfulness could help combat anxiety and depression.