What are the benefits of meditation?
The meditation industry has seen exponential growth in the last few years as more people discover the many benefits of meditation.
In response to growing demand, meditation apps and meditation studios have built thriving businesses by increasing the ease and accessibility of daily meditation practice. Additionally, a variety of meditation teacher trainings have been created to teach personal development industry professionals how to facilitate guided meditations.
As the popularity of this ancient activity increases, understanding the physical, psychological & spiritual benefits of meditation can help us realize what all the fuss is about.
Health Benefits of Meditation
There is a multitude of both physical & psychological health benefits of meditation. From reducing stress to improving heart health to changing the structure of the brain, meditation has been proven to positively affect many aspects of a person’s emotional & physical well-being.
We will keep the explanation at a high level in this article, but for those who want to dive deep, I would refer you to our piece on the scientific benefits of meditation & mindfulness in the treatment of anxiety.
Physical Benefits of Meditation
1. Improved heart health:
Meditation has been proven to increase heart rate variability, a key indicator of proper nervous system function. Improved HRV is associated with decreased risk of heart disease.
2. Increased immune system function:
Regular meditation practice promotes the release of hormones and neurotransmitters that bolster the function of the immune system.
3. Better brain function & structure:
Studies have shown that a consistent practice of meditation can increase grey matter in the brain. Additionally, meditation helps improve our rational thinking capabilities by promoting balanced, healthy density & activity between the emotional and logical structures of the brain.
Psychological Benefits of Meditation
1. Reduced stress & anxiety:
Meditation & mindfulness act to reduce activity in the survival brain and dampen the fight, flight, freeze, or shut down functions of the sympathetic nervous system.
2. Improved focus & memory:
Meditation has a direct effect on our brain’s attention networks, enabling us to enter into a hyper-focused “flow state”, while more readily storing and accessing our memories.
3. Enhanced empathy & emotional intelligence:
Meditating enables us to see things from a new perspective, especially our own thoughts and actions. Regular meditation can help us relate to one another through recognition & understanding of our own thoughts, feelings, & emotions.
4. Heightened creativity:
Studies have shown that meditation increases activity in the parts of our brain used for creative thinking & problem-solving. A brief meditation before any creative endeavor is always a good idea.
5. Improved decision-making ability:
There is a reason many of the world’s most successful business executives use meditation. Studies have shown that meditation increases activity & function in the brain’s decision-making centers.
Spiritual Benefits of Meditation
Meditation is the perfect tool for anyone seeking to develop their spiritual life. The physical & psychological benefits of meditation listed above combine to create the perfect state of mind to engage in deep contemplation on spiritual topics.
By turning down the static of the outside world, meditation can help foster the perfect inner environment for prayer and reception of guidance from the still small voice.
Benefits of Guided Meditation
Guided meditation is the act of meditating in response to another’s words or “guidance”. Guided meditations are led by a meditation facilitator and can be delivered live in-person or video/audio.
Because guided meditations are led by someone else, they offer the unique benefits of being a passive experience & having targeted applications. This makes guided meditation great for beginners or those seeking to overcome specific challenges, like falling asleep or overcoming test anxiety.
Personal development industry professionals around the world are seeking to learn how to facilitate guided meditations to increase their effectiveness with their clients.