Five benefits of meditation for stress and anxiety
More people are increasingly turning to meditation for stress and anxiety relief. We are always so swamped with work and life events that stress has become a staple in our daily lives. Meditation trains your mind to focus inwards and redirects your thoughts. It brings you into a welcoming state of relaxation and tranquillity.
However, is it all that it’s hyped up to be? Here at Pacific Prime, we discuss the 5 benefits of meditation.
1. Stress reduction
This is no doubt the number one reason why people meditate. Stress is incredibly bad for your health. In fact, our body is not made to be so alert all the time. Think of your body as an alarm system. Stress alerts you to potential danger in the environment by releasing cortisol and kickstarting your fight-or-flight response. In modern days, even mental stress is enough to keep the alarm ringing. This prolonged stress may ultimately lead to anxiety and depression, both of which are increasingly common in our society.
Meditation often requires you to focus on your breathing pattern. Just by breathing deeply, you activate your parasympathetic nervous system and in turn quiet your sympathetic nervous system. In other words, you slow your heart rate and shut down your fight-or-flight response. Studies have shown that over time, meditation causes changes in areas of the brain related to positive thinking and optimism.
2. Reduce physical discomfort
Meditation relieves physical stress. Your mind and body are so intricately linked that negative feelings often manifest physically. For example, when you are feeling anxious, your palms grow sweaty and your heart palpitates. At night, you could barely fall asleep analyzing your past, or worrying about the future. Meditation helps you release this pent-up tension.
Research has shown that blood pressure decreases during meditation but also over time in individuals who meditate regularly.
3. Manage chronic pain symptoms
Meditation is excellent at helping chronic pain sufferers manage their symptoms. Your conditions may no longer respond to medical treatment, but you can still change your perception of pain. In fact, there is a program based entirely on this principle.
The Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MSR) program combines meditation, physical movement, and simple exercises to develop your capacity for mindfulness. It supplements traditional medical treatment. Patients have also shown reduced blood pressure, as well as a decrease in heart rate and anxiety-related conditions after 8 weeks of practice.
It also brings chronic pain sufferers peace of mind to have a health insurance plan that includes chronic condition coverage. Contact our insurance experts today for the best health insurance in Thailand.
4. Increase in self-awareness
A big draw to meditation is getting in touch with yourself. The world is constantly demanding your attention. It can be difficult to find time to look inwards, and to figure out what is and isn’t working in your life. Moreover, it’s crucial to stay present with your feelings, recognize the different facets, and let them pass through you. Be honest with yourself and accept these feelings as they are. Cultivate self-compassion, because only then can you coexist peacefully with your emotions.
Good news for people suffering from anxiety or depression: research has shown that a consistent meditation practice can rewire the neural pathways in your brain! You can learn to recognize the overblown stories you tell yourself and let them go.
5. Lengthen your attention span
Focused-attention meditation is like weight lifting for your attention span. We are constantly bombarded with phone notifications. It becomes a struggle to focus on one thing at a time. However, just a few weeks of practicing meditation is enough to improve your concentration and memory.
Another study shows that meditation can actually prevent age-related mental decline. A group of participants aged 22 to 69 years old went on a 3-month-long meditation retreat in 2011. They had all reported an improvement in focus and emotional wellbeing afterwards. Surprisingly enough, the researchers followed up with them seven years later and all of them not only continued to meditate but their mental improvements held up in evaluations.
Why should you meditate?
Meditation has a myriad of benefits. This includes reducing your mental and physical discomfort, helping you put things into perspective, and improving your attention span. So, the better question is: why shouldn’t you meditate?
At Pacific Prime, we offer the best health insurance in Thailand – some of which even include chronic condition coverage. This is perfect for those suffering from chronic illness and looking for ways to offset their treatment costs. Our team of expert insurance advisors is here to help you find the best plan by balancing your budget and your needs. Our advice comes free of charge, so shoot us a message anytime!
Outside of work, Serena spends her time buried in books and dreaming of her next travel destination.
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