7 Ways Meditation Can Help Improve Mental Health
You may have probably heard of the old saying, “A healthy mind lives in a healthy body”. Well, this is very much true and is even scientifically proven!
According to several studies, Endorphins or the ‘make-you-feel-good’ hormones that our brain releases are found to be more in proportion in a healthy body than in an unfit body. Therefore, It is evident that if you are physically fit and healthy, you are giving room for a healthy mind. A good and healthy lifestyle with regular exercise is highly essential for a healthy body. And on the other hand, self-control and meditation is the key for a positive and healthy mind.
It is a proven fact that meditation exercises the brain in the same way an aerobic class or other workouts exercises the body. This is why it is important to consider and include exercising the mind as part of a ‘complete’ fitness plan as a healthy body means little to nothing without a healthy mind. Let us learn more about how the power of exercise and meditation are needed for a healthy mind in a healthy body.
WHY YOU NEED TO MEDITATE
When it comes to health, we tend to pay more attention to our physical health as its impacts are visible, unlike mental health condition. But what we often forget and dismiss is that paying attention and caring for our mental health is just as necessary and important as it is with our physical health. Our daily hectic schedules and fast-paced life has a tremendous impact on our physical health as well as on our mental health. Mental illness like stress and anxiety are on the rise each day and has become a serious health issue across the globe.
Stress and anxiety can take a huge toll on our mind and body. Short-term stress can accelerate our breathing and heart rate and increases our blood pressure which can affect the functioning of our brain, immune system and other organs if not treated sooner. Chronic stress and anxiety can cause heart disease, depression, and even premature death. One of the most common results of chronic stress is depression. Depression rate has gone alarmingly high in the past few years, especially with the pandemic. It is the leading cause of suicides across the world with India ranking as the 6th most depressed country in the world. (according to WHO)
Therefore, it is indeed a need of the hour to pay attention to mental illness and put in efforts to make healthy minds for everyone. Stress may not be eradicated from the roots but its effects on our body can definitely be minimized. The best remedy and solution to this is self-control and meditation. A program like meditation can help you change the way your brain responds to stress and anxiety and help you focus your attention inward to induce a state of relaxation.
MEDITATION: How It Works
Although meditation has been practised for thousands of years, research on its health benefits is relatively new yet promising. Several studies have found meditation to be beneficial in relieving pain, anxiety, and depression. In fact, as per their studies, meditation was shown to be as effective as an antidepressant when it comes to treating depression.
Meanwhile, physical and mental health benefits aside, meditation benefits surpasses so much more. It can also help your intuition, creativity, and your connection with your inner self.
Here are 7 ways meditation can help promote better mental health:
1. Strengthens the Mind
Just as a regular cardio workout improves and strengthens the heart by increasing the heart rate, a person who is constantly in a meditative state strengthens his mind’s ability to focus and control his thoughts. His brain focus centres are strong and sharp and can concentrate with less amount of work.
2. Stabilizes Stress
Meditation can help improve brain chemistry. Just as physical exercise helps release endorphin hormones, meditation also helps release these “feel-good” hormones and also enhances GABA, DHEA, melatonin and serotonin, which are essential hormones to help us sleep, stabilize our moods, and eliminate stress and depression. It is also important to know that meditation also lowers the cortisol level in our body, thereby decreasing the risk of sugar imbalance, and chronic stress and anxiety.
3. Enhances Memory
Meditation also helps improve memory. People when depressed have less volume of grey matter due to the smaller size of the hippocampus. Hippocampus is the brain area involved in memory. Due to meditation the volume of grey area increases.
4. Improves Self-esteem
Meditation is also known to improve self-esteem. In a world where we are constantly worried about our body image which can have a negative impact on our mental health, practising meditation can help us step away from these worries. It helps us remove our minds from these negative thoughts and thus help us gain better self-esteem.
5. Increases Oxygen Flow in the Body
Meditation, just like in aerobic exercise, also help increase the flow of oxygen in the body and help provide the muscles and tissues with essential nutrients. The breathing technique in meditation also helps release toxins with exhalations.
6. Protects the mind
Meditation help stretches and increases the flexibility of the mind, protecting it from injury. It helps increase the grey matters in the brain which is responsible for cognitive thought and learning decision.
7. Improves Concentration
Just as an athlete is taught and trained to utilise or relax a particular muscle according to the requirements of the sport, meditation also trains his or her mind to focus on a particular thing while everything else is pushed aside. Meditation helps the brain to concentrate and centre its energy on important thoughts which help ease the mind and relieves stress and anxiety.
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It may take time to master the art of meditation at first few try but so is every positive lifestyle habits. Once you get the hang of it, you will know that it is undoubtedly one of the best ways to calm your mind storms and dissolve the walls of unawareness. You will also realise that meditation can give you lasting access to happiness, mental peace, and life energy, and opens the true power of your mind.
Disclaimer: This content provides general information and should not be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.
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