“When the mind disciplined,
By the practice of meditation becomes steady,
One becomes content in the self by beholding him
With (purified) intellect.”
– Krishna, Chapter VI, The Bhagavad Gita
Meditation is an old art-form capable of healing the mind and the body and has, thus, gained popularity over the years in various countries. In a paper published in the well-known medical journal – Behavioural Medicine, a study by eminent medical professionals showed that meditation has a general positive effect on psychological (mind) and physiological (body) health. There are two kinds of meditation – mindfulness and spiritual. Meditation is relaxation. It is not about concentration, it’s actually about de-concentration.
Mind & Performance – Meditation improves your focus, attention, and ability to work under stress, improves information processing and decision-making, gives you mental strength, resilience and emotional intelligence, makes you stronger against pain and relieves pain better than morphine. It helps manage ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Increases the ability to keep focus in spite of distractions. Improves learning, memory and self-awareness, improves rapid memory recall, improves your mood and psychological well-being. Prevents you from falling in the trap of multitasking too often. It helps us allocate limited brain resources. Improves visuospatial processing and working memory. Meditation also fosters creativity.
Brain & Moods – Mindfulness meditation practices decreases depression. It helps treat depression in mothers to be, helps regulate mood and anxiety disorders, and reduces stress and anxiety in general. It also helps reduce symptoms of panic disorder. Increases grey matter concentration in the brain, acutely improves psychomotor vigilance, and may decrease the need to sleep. Long-term meditation enhances the ability to generate gamma waves in the brain. Not to mention, it helps reduce alcohol and substance abuse.
Body & Health – Meditation reduces risk of heart diseases and stroke and helps manage the heart rate and respiratory rate. Affects genes that control stress and immunity. Reduces blood pressure, inflammatory disorders, cellular-level inflammation, and helps prevent asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. It helps treat premenstrual syndrome and menopausal symptoms. Reduces risk of Alzheimer’s and premature death. Helpful for patients diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. Mindfulness meditation may even help treat HIV. It helps manage psoriasis. Studies show that it may actually make you live longer.
Mindfulness Meditation Benefits for Children – “If every 8-year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.” – Dalai Lama. It is essential to focus on the mental health of children so as to shape them into a better person in the future. Studies show that meditation has the following benefits in children: reduced depression symptoms, reduced somatic stress, reduced hostility and conflicts with peers, reduced anxiety, reduced reactivity, reduced substance use, increased cognitive retention, increased self-care, increased optimism and positive emotions, increased self-esteem, increased feelings of happiness and well-being, improved social skills, improved sleep, improved self-awareness and improved academic performance.