Beginner’s Guide: What is the Point of Meditation?
The popularity of meditation has increased significantly in the latest years. Both science and experience proved its benefits in reducing stress, controlling anxiety, developing concentration, and increasing awareness. ‘What is the point of meditation?’ is a question that various people who practice meditation and meditation experts will answer differently.
In general, meditation is a process of training your mind to focus and redirect thoughts. Meditation helps us increase the awareness of ourselves and our surroundings.
For most people meditation is a way to reduce stress, boost concentration and improve self-discipline. In addition, some people report that meditation helps improve their sleep patterns, increase their mood and even improve their pain tolerance.
The aim of meditation is to calm and relax the mind and identify with your core by experiencing peace and sometimes spiritual enlightenment.
Science-grounded Benefits of Meditation
According to researchers from John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, mindful meditation can ease the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and physical pain. They came to this conclusion after examining nearly 19,000 studies about meditation.
Accumulated stress can have a huge negative impact on our mental and physical well-being. Today, stress has become one of the leading reasons for declined mental health in millions of people around the world.
According to the American Institute of Stress 2014 survey, 77 percent of people in the US commonly experience physical symptoms related to stress such as low energy, decreased libido, pain, aches etc. At the same time, 73 percent of people reported psychological symptoms of stress like anxiety, depression, irritability, moodiness, and other mental health issues.
The studies in the field of neuroscience offer evidence that a few minutes of mindful meditation every day may re-wire the brain’s neural pathways, making you more resilient to stress.
Research demonstrated that meditation reduces the activity in the amygdala. The amygdala is a set of neurons in our brain’s limbic system that plays a key role in emotion processing. It is fundamental in triggering our stress response. So, reducing amygdala’s activity, meditation reduces your background level of stress.
Different studies showed that mindful meditation can reduce symptoms of anxiety disorder, such as social anxiety, phobia, panic attacks, and obsessive-compulsive behavior.
For example, one study observed 18 volunteers three years after they had completed an eight-week meditation program. Most participants had continued practicing meditation and preserved lower levels of anxiety over the long term.
Meditation allows you to become aware of your thoughts. Being mindful allows you not to react to stress in the first place, but to have a moment to pause instead. This in turn allows you to deliberate and create a better solution.
Mental Health Promotion
One study compared electrical activity between the brains of people who practiced mindful meditation and those who did not. The results showed measurable changes in activity in the areas of the brain related to positive thinking and optimism.
Physical Health Boost
Meditation can improve our breathing and heart rate and regulate blood pressure. In addition, there is the evidence that meditation can boost our energy level and improve the immune system.
By calming our mind and body, meditation improves our overall health. It inspires our personal growth through reaching a quiet and stable mindset.
Final thoughts on the point of meditating
Sometimes finding time to meditate can be difficult. But once you understand the point of meditation and the many benefits it can bring, it becomes a vital part of your day.
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