Health Benefits of Meditation: What You Can Gain from Meditation for Your Health
Meditation is typically thought of as a mental exercise and as a way of changing how we relate to our thoughts and emotions. But, it can also be viewed of as the physical process of rewiring how our brain and body function. As a result of long-term meditation practice, there are a surprising number of health benefits of meditation that affect our physiology.
Experience Greater Happiness
Happiness may not seem like something you would practice, but studies on the health benefits of meditation show that the practice of mindfulness can make a measurable difference. Not only does meditation increase positive emotions, but it also decreases ruminative thinking, helps with mood and anxiety disorders, and is effective for managing stress.
Improve Your Communication with Others
How can meditation help your social life? By cultivating self-understanding and self-compassion, you increase your capacity to do the same for others. Research into the health benefits of meditation shows that “loving-kindness meditation” can increase positive social emotions, cultivate compassion, and decrease feelings of loneliness.
Improve Your Self-Discipline
A lack of self-control can negatively impact our ability to stay calm and achieve our goals in life. A study from Stanford University found that compassion cultivation training (CCT) meditation improved emotional regulation and decreased worry and emotional suppression. Meditation for your health has also been shown to improve focus and attention, increasing your productivity.
Rewire Your Brain
Another reason to practice meditation for health benefits is that it can literally make your brain bigger. A research team at Harvard showed that after practicing meditation regularly, participants demonstrated an increase in brain gray matter. More importantly, the areas where gray matter was increased were associated with learning and memory processes, emotional regulation, self-referential processing, and perspective taking.