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Meditation

How it can improve mental health and bring calmness to the mind?

The Asian world has practiced meditation for many thousands of years. Originally, religions in Asia had used meditation to spiritually understand the sacred and mystical forces of life. However, meditation today goes beyond spirituality and is used to bring deeper relaxation to the mind while reducing stress. Meditation is seen as a type of mind-body contemporary medicine to instill deeper tranquil and relaxation to a cluttered mind. On meditating, individuals are able to focus the attention on a single aspect and eliminate jumbled thoughts cluttering the mind, which is ultimately causing stress. Meditation can thus improve both emotional and physical wellbeing of an individual.

Evidence to show that Meditation Helps

In the systematic review and meta-analysis titled ‘Meditation programs and Psychological Stress and Well-being’ by Goyal et al (2014), it is seen that the researchers have found a relationship between meditation and depression and anxiety. The meta-analysis has reviewed 47 clinical trials using 3515 patients and the results have showed that mindful meditation over 8 weeks was able to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. In yet another study published in 2018, in the journal Psychiatry Review, it is seen that mindfulness meditation training could reduce acute stress responses in individuals with generalized anxiety disorder. Thus, mindfulness meditation has helped to greatly reduce stress compared to the controls. Today, mindfulness based therapy is used by practitioners in the treatment plan for treating patients with anxiety and depression. Meditation along with antidepressants is a great add-on therapy to calm the mind of patients with anxiety and depression.

How does Meditation Improve Mental Health and Emotions?

Anger Regulation

Meditation helps to regulate negative emotions. It is seen through research that practicing meditation can help individuals to manage emotions such as anger and fear. In the research published by Fennell et al (2016), it was shown that a single session of meditation was able to reduce anger in both novice and experienced mediators. When this study was performed, it was seen that the individuals who had never practiced meditation, experienced higher levels of anger which resulted in a high heart rate, breathing rate and blood pressure. The persons who meditated were able to reduce anger-inducing physical changes such as increase in breathing rates etc.

Recovery from Disturbing Scenes

In yet another study to understand the emotion regulations, it was found that participants who practiced meditation helped to manage the negative emotions which came to mind. Thus, the group of people who meditated were able to remain emotionally calm even when disturbing photos and videos of a bloody corpse was seen.

Fear Regulation

It was seen that meditation was able to improve fear levels of cancer patients as they were constantly under the fear that the disease would return. The American Cancer Society in a survey found that 60% of cancer survivors had the fear that the disease would return. This led to high levels of fear which negatively impacted on the mood and quality of life of people. Meditation thus helped to decrease this fear factor. It was seen that cancer survivors who had been taught strategies on how to control their worry was able to improve their quality of life.

How can Meditation help to Improve Handle Stress in Daily Life?

Stress is common in the modern world due to the fast pace of life. However, this accumulation of stress has a negative impact on health. It is shown to increase headaches, pains, fatigue and tension. Uncontrolled stress in the long run can lead to obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiac arrests. It is seen that meditation can ease stress occurring in the daily lives of people and bring calmness to the mind. In a recent survey, it was found that 8 out of 10 Americans frequently felt stressed. Meditation is a great way to control this. Patients who are at stress due to anxiety could follow mindfulness-based stress reduction. Following such strategies, would help to manage stress levels as well as reduce inflammation and lower the release of stress related hormones. It is shown that even a brief exposure to meditation sessions can help to manage stress and ease the mind. It is seen that mindfulness helps individuals to face stressful situations without fear. Thus, meditation is a great way to improve a deeper understanding with your own self. It helps to relate to things around you and teaches one to recognize harmful thoughts helping to build more constructive patterns. Meditation is thus a great way to improve self-efficiency by helping any individual to overcome any harmful challenges.

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