There is a slew of benefits to daily meditation that just about everyone should be aware of – and promptly take advantage of. Something as remarkably simple as taking the time to collect your thoughts, breathe, and tune into your emotions can be, as it turns out, a total game changer. Whether you’re new to meditating or you’ve been on the bandwagon for some time now, here are some of the biggest benefits to keep in mind when considering why a daily meditation can be good for you.
It Will Improve Your Mental Wellbeing
You may be hearing more about mindfulness and meditation as of late, as more often, they are becoming recognized as legitimate techniques used to improve emotional health and bolster introspective thinking. Research indicates that by simply taking some portion of your day to close your eyes and focus on your breathing in a quiet, comfortable space with no distractions, you can significantly quell emotional disorders like anxiety and depression.
It Will Slow the Aging Process
You’re probably already aware of the role that stress plays in the aging process, and if you’re not, to put it simply: more cortisol (the “stress” hormone) means more sleepless nights and less melatonin your body. You may already know melatonin as the “sleep” hormone (that which naturally kicks in after the sun sets and helps you get good shut-eye), but what you may not know is that it’s now being identified as a key hormone in slowing down the aging process; it does so by halting damage that occurs naturally to your skin cells over time. Where does meditation come in? It’s a domino effect, you see: meditating regularly significantly reduces stress, which means more nights of restful sleep due to an increase of melatonin, which, you now know prevents naturally occurring damage to your skin and keeps you looking (and feeling) young. Apart from that, research indicates that meditators produce more melatonin than non-meditators.
It Will Strengthen Your Mind (Literally)
Studies show that just half an hour of daily meditation has been proven to have a lasting impact on brain function. The cerebral cortex, for example, is responsible for consciousness, memory and attention span. With consistent meditation, the cerebral cortex has been shown to undergo a process called gyrification, or in other words, form folds and furrows on its surface that are known to boost function – like increased consciousness, improved memory, and even improved decision making. Additionally, consistent meditation has been proven to decrease the size of the brain’s amygdala (that which houses our fears and negative emotions), while reinforcing the strength of the hippocampus (that which also oversees memory function and learning).
It Will Lower Your Blood Pressure
Decreased stress, of course, means lowered blood pressure, but even still, the effects of meditation are much more extensive on cardiovascular health. Several studies have cited meditation as a natural alternative to managing health. One in particular saw that meditators with coronary heart disease saw a significant decrease in blood pressure, and significant reductions in their risk for stroke, heart attack and death compared to non-mediators over the course of 9 years.
It Will Improve Your Immunity
Daily meditation does wonders for your immune system. If you’ve ever been worried or anxious to the point that it’s made you physically ill, then it shouldn’t be hard to understand why. Research shows that our emotional state contributes to the durability of our immune systems – so if you’re constantly in a state of panic, anxiety or depression, illness and disease are fostered much more easily. Not nurturing the health of your brain as your would your heart, liver or kidneys is bound to have an impact on the latter. However, an increase in daily mindfulness could improve your immunity ten-fold.