Many people are captivated by the benefits that meditation offers for their overall health and well-being; however, just as many people have yet to discover the numerous benefits and joys. For example, self-meditating can help calm your mind and nerves, as well as help you confront and solve problems in your life. Furthermore, it can help your body relax after a long, stressful day at work.
Below, fitness and yoga instructor, Ken Inoue, discusses the most important benefits that practicing meditation each day can provide for you.
1. Lower Stress Level
Stress is a killer – both literally and figuratively. High levels of stress can cause deadly heart attacks and strokes. However, even if it doesn’t kill you, feeling stressed out all the time will “kill” your quality of life. Practicing meditation can help you manage stress in your life in a healthy way and even reduce the adverse side effects induced by stress-triggered hormones. When you enter a meditative state, your body is more apt to relax, thereby unwinding those tense feelings of stress.
Pro Tip from Ken Inoue: It’s natural for your mind to wander in meditation, especially when you’re a novice. Keep your initial sessions brief (5 minutes or less), and focus on your breathing. If you wear a fitness tracker, analyze your heart rate before and after – you may very well be surprised by how calm your pulse has become.
2. Reduces Symptoms of Illnesses
According to a study from the Mayo Clinic, meditation decreases the severity of symptoms from several illnesses:
• Chronic Pain
• High Blood Pressure
• Irritable Bowel Syndrome
• Sleep Problems
• Tension Headaches
Researchers believe that since many of the symptoms of these illnesses are made worse by stress, meditation is able to lessen their severity by reducing your overall mental strain and anxiety. If you suffer from any of these illnesses and notice that the symptoms tend to worsen when you feel stressed out, try meditation to see if it can offer you some relief from them. However, it should be noted that meditation cannot cure any of these illnesses. Therefore, you should still speak with your primary care physician regarding a suitable treatment plan.
3. Promotes Good Heart Health
A study by the American Heart Association found that heart patients who practice daily meditation experienced a decrease in their arterial walls’ thickness. That’s important because thicker arterial walls can cause serious health problems, such as:
• High Blood Pressure
• Heart Disease
Thinner arterial walls make it easier for your heart to pump blood more fluidly around your body – and decrease your risk of a heart attack or stroke. However, meditation won’t cure heart disease, so you still need to seek medical treatment from your doctor.
4. Reduces Muscle Tension
Muscle tension occurs when your muscles can’t relax – which makes it especially difficult and painful to move them. You can experience muscle tension after an intense workout, as well as while feeling stressed out. Meditation can reduce muscle tension by helping you control your breathing and calm your mind. You can even try a meditation technique called progressive muscle relaxation designed to ease the tension in your muscles.
5. Slows the Aging of Your Brain
As you grow older, your brain will begin to show signs of aging. For example, the brain’s aging process is measured by the amount of grey matter it has. More grey matter means that your brain is aging better. A UCLA study found that people who meditate have a higher amount of grey matter in their brain than those who don’t. The longer you can preserve your grey matter, the better your brain will function as you get older. For instance, your brain will do a better job of controlling muscles, sensory perception, emotions, and self-control. Furthermore, you can slow down other aging issues like memory loss and declines in cognitive skills.
6. Better Concentration and Focus
As mentioned above, meditating is good for the health of your brain, which in turn can increase your ability to concentrate and focus. For example, let’s say that you plan to attend graduate school, but you need to take and score high on required graduate school exams before you can start your program. Engaging in meditation each day can help boost your ability to concentrate and focus on the exam material while studying, thereby improving your chances of a quality academic score.
7. Improves Your Overall Well-Being
Last but not least, meditating daily will improve your overall well-being. A Harvard study found that eight weeks of mindfulness meditation resulted in an improvement in patients’ psychological well-being and happiness. The study’s participants reported feeling a lower amount of stress and greater self-esteem, and more positive attitudes about themselves. They were also able to practice better emotional regulation and self-control. If you struggle with anxiety or mind depression, you should try meditation to see if it can help you.
About Ken Inoue
Ken Inoue is a certified personal trainer, originally from Torrance, CA. As a life-long surfer, he learned how to embrace the laid-back So-Cal vibes in tandem with a vigorous yet rewarding exercise routine from a young age. A firm believer in finding multiple paths to fitness, Mr. Inoue tailors exercise plans to the individual to create accessible, motivating, and efficient sessions with balanced results. In light of 2020, this has proved especially important in curating digital fitness regimens that clients can sink their teeth into at home with little to no equipment. In his spare time, Ken Inoue enjoys exploring new restaurants focused on a well-balanced diet via Los Angeles takeout, practicing a mindful yoga flow, catching a wave along the Southern California coast, and socializing with friends and family in Torrance, health protocols permitting, of course.