Only recently has meditation been recognised as the physically and mentally beneficial practice it is. Not long ago it was considered to be an outdated, new-age spiritual activity with no measurable benefits.
However, recent studies have shown meditation is more than sitting down cross legged for a while. Meditation can in fact increase confidence, reduce stress and improve many other aspects of people's lives. Here are the top five ways meditation could benefit you:
1. Lower risk of heart disease
According to a recent clinical trial, meditation could help reduce the risk of stroke, heart attack and death in people suffering with heart disease by as much as 50%. Doctors studied 200 at-risk patients for five years and found that those who practiced transcendental meditation lowered their risk of the above by 47%.
2. Treat depression
Some trials have shown meditation to be more effective at treating depression than drugs. Researchers from the University of Exeter found that mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT) had more of an impact on sufferers than pills and counselling for depression. Four months after starting an MBCT programme, 75% of patients felt well enough to stop taking their drugs.
3. Boost self-esteem
Low self-esteem can really impair people's lives. It can stop them finding happiness at work and in social situations. Meditation can work to reduce the anxiety experienced by people who find it difficult to cope with nerve-wracking situation. This lowering of stress levels can boost confidence and change people's behaviours, making them more likely to find happiness and success in life.
4. Career boost
Silicon Valley is well known for incorporating meditation into its daily office life. Companies like Google publicly practice meditation to boost employee productivity and increase focus on projects. A relaxed, centred and mindful attitude can help staff to make good decisions and reach career milestones such as promotions and pay rises.
9. Happier life
Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital examined the brain scans of 16 people while they participated in an eight-week mindfulness meditation course. Neuro-scans revealed that parts of the brain associated with compassion and self-awareness grew, while the area related to stress shrank significantly.
Many alternative therapies harness the power of meditation to heal the body and mind. To find out more, please visit our Yoga Therapy page.
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