Everyone can gain from the wonderful benefits of meditation, and you don't need to be an 'expert'. My aim is to demystify meditation and show you how you can begin to meditate today. See my page about easy meditation techniques to learn how simple it can be.
So, what are the benefits of meditation? I have categorised them under physical, emotional, mental and spiritual benefits so that you can see how meditation has great advantages upon all levels of our being. But remember, to gain lasting benefits from meditation you need to practice it regularly, ideally every day.
The Physical Benefits of Meditation
Meditation is a very effective remedy for stress relief for the following reasons. When we feel stressed or anxious, our brain wave pattern changes, our heart rate and blood pressure rise, our breath is more shallow and our muscles tense up. Our body prepares to 'fight or flight' by pumping adrenaline and other hormones into our bloodstream.
In past times, this type of response came in handy when you needed to flee from animals that wanted to eat you or warriors trying to kill you, and the sudden burst of physical activity allowed our bodies returned to normal when the threat was over .
But these days, we seem to live with many smaller stressors, but on a more constant basis - deadlines at work, family conflicts, passing exams, the harbouring of unresolved emotions and generally trying to keep up with a faster pace of life. Over time, without a way to release, the stress continues to build up and begins to affect our health, a fact which is now widely accepted by the medical community.
So how does meditation help? In our normal waking state, our brain is in the high frequency beta wave state. When we meditate, our brain waves slow down to the alpha state, and in this state we produce neurochemicals which calm the body. This leads to the following physical effects:
Regular meditators also generally will experience:
Meditation also has very beneficial effects on the body's various chemicals, namely:
With a list of physical benefits like this, who wouldn't want to meditate! But there is even more on offer......
The Mental Benefits of Meditation
Regular meditation has some very positive effects on our mental abilities. It has been shown that consistent meditators can expect to experience the following:
The Emotional Benefits of Meditation
We all know that when we are feeling stressed or anxious, our coping abilities plummet. We become more easily irritated, upset or angry. So the stress-releasing qualities of meditation will also work to soothe our jagged emotions.
But there are other emotional advantages to meditating. When we meditate, we are entering a different level of awareness. We begin to dip into our subconscious mind during the meditation process, and all that resides there begins to come into our awareness.
Emotions that we have been repressing or denying may 'come to the surface' if you like. In other words, we begin to become more aware of what has been lurking inside of us for many years.
You may begin to experience certain emotions, but not know why. This is the process of your body bringing these emotions to your awareness to allow them to be acknowledged and then released.
It is very important that you do not resist or suppress any feelings that you may have, or you will not allow them to flow through you and dissipate. Just observe them, accept their presence and know that they will eventually go.
So, meditating provides us with the following emotional benefits:
The Spiritual Benefits of Meditation
Over time, regular meditators will begin to experience less random mental chatter, and this makes way for more quiet spaces between the thoughts that do come in.
It is only when we begin to experience these quiet moments that we allow ourselves access to our Higher Selves, or our higher levels of consciousness. How can you connect with the oneness of the Universe and 'all that is' when your mind is endlessly and automatically filling itself with mostly useless thoughts? Nothing else can get in.
The inner peace and expanded awareness that regular meditation produces increases our ability to receive communication from our Higher Self, our spirit guides and the angels. They are feeding us guidance constantly, but most of us never notice it because our minds are way too busy.
Once we begin to be more still, and live in the present moment, we will naturally begin to feel more connected to the oneness of the Universe, and our intuitive abilities will be enhanced.
We begin to live in a more conscious state. We become the observers and creators of our lives, We begin to witness our own behaviours, rather than react to circumstances with great drama.
Consistent meditation will open you up to the intelligent energy that pervades the Universe, and little by little, your inner peace will begin to unfold.
So with all of the incredible benefits of meditation, why don't you get started? I for one can vouch for the life-enhancing advantages of a regular meditation practice.