Why Do People Meditate?
Why do people meditate?
When you watch someone sitting perfectly still, focusing on clearing their mind completely, it can seem strange. Why would anyone commit to such a seemingly boring or fruitless practice?
However, meditation has many proven benefits. The 18 million U.S. adults who engage in the practice aren’t wrong. There are meditations for health, mindfulness, focus, and more. Which one will you try?
In this guide, we’ll thoroughly go over all the benefits of meditation, so you’ll no longer be wondering “Why do people meditate?” Keep reading and you’ll soon want to start a meditation practice of your own!
1. Better Sleep
Sleep is much more than just a chance for your body to relax. It’s actually essential for your mind to work well.
However, modern life often doesn’t leave much room for high-quality shut-eye. That’s where meditation comes in. If you struggle to get enough good sleep, meditation will help you get more REM sleep and higher levels of melatonin (the hormone that helps regulate sleep).
Research has even shown that meditation can help people with more serious sleeping issues. One study looked at whether mind meditations could help people with serious chronic insomnia. The researchers found that the participants who meditated spent less time awake during the night and slept better overall. A follow-up months later found that the benefits were still being felt.
2. Stress Reduction
There’s a reason why so many famous people in high-stress jobs advocate for meditation. A Harvard Medical School study actually discovered that meditation makes your prefrontal cortex thicker. This part of the brain is in charge of your self-awareness and focus, among other things.
Meditation can help relieve stress and burnout at high-stress jobs of all sorts. You don’t need to be a famous entrepreneur or artist to reap the benefits – if you experience stress in your day-to-day life, meditation can benefit your life.
3. Better Eating Habits
For many people, stress comes with stress eating. However, many people have found that meditation can keep them from overeating or binge eating – and the research backs that up.
Without any specific diet, simply meditating every day can help you get your dietary habits under control. The stress-reducing effects of meditation result in lowered cortisol levels. Cortisol is associated with weight gain and fat retention, so meditation for stress relief has a doubly positive effect.
4. Pain Reduction
Many studies over the years have focused on how meditation can help people feel less pain. The research has shown that meditation does help relieve pain and offers a better quality of life to people suffering from chronic pain. However, researchers still aren’t quite sure what causes this effect.
With new methods, we’ve now been able to get a better idea of how meditation might help to relieve pain. MRIs have shown that there’s less of the pain-induced flow of blood to the brain when patients are meditating. However, more research is still needed to determine exactly what causes this effect.
5. Anxiety Reduction
Your meditation brain also becomes less anxious! This is a great benefit for people who have anxiety disorders, and for anyone who suffers from more general anxiety from time to time.
When your anxiety takes over, you can’t really focus on the present, enjoy yourself, or make your best decisions. Anxiety is also closely tied to stress – when we’re anxious, we’re often stressed, too.
Meditation helps with anxiety and all the symptoms it can cause, such as disrupted sleep.
6. Fights Depression
Meditation even seems to help ward off depression. In addition to combatting chronic depression, it can also help ward off day-to-day unhappiness. In at least one study, meditation was shown to improve depressive symptoms in a way that mimicked antidepressants.
Meditation may not take the place of prescription medications – at least not for most people. However, it seems to offer a useful supplement to those meds.
7. Better Love Life
Can meditation really improve your love life? The research says yes.
In today’s disconnected age, many people struggle to find and keep love. Luckily, meditation can help those relationships we form last longer and be more successful.
When you meditate, you learn to check in with your own emotions. This can lead you to also becoming better at checking in with your partner’s emotions, as well as taking responsibility for your own.
In a University of California study, researchers taught women who were married or in partnerships how to meditate. They were found to show fewer negative expressions in an interaction test with their spouses than the control group did. Other studies have shown that negative facial expressions during these tests are often an indicator of divorce.
8. More Success
This seems like the boldest claim of all, but in many ways, meditation can benefit your life by making you more successful.
Many people have heard that it takes hours and hours of practice to get good at something. This advice isn’t wrong – but it also takes more than practice to be successful.
Tests on highly successful people, such as athletes, CEOs, and performers have shown that they have a great deal of something called “brain integration.” This means that the connections between different parts of the brain are strong. People with this quality tend to be better able to focus and can think fast to solve problems.
The reason this is so important for success is that success takes creativity as well as skill. Brain integration helps people tackle unforeseen obstacles, which are bound to come up in any endeavor.
Why Do People Meditate – and Why Will You Start?
Maybe some of these reasons to meditate resonate with you more than others. No matter which one you feel inspired by, you’ll gain all these benefits when you start meditations for health.
Instead of wondering “Why do people meditate?” you can find out for yourself! What are you hoping meditation will help you with? Leave a comment and let us know.