The Health Benefits of Meditation
There is now a good deal of scientific evidence that the positive thoughts and emotions that result from meditation practice can help make life longer and healthier. It’s important to remember that in order to produce these health benefits of meditation and the positive thought patterns that result from meditation, the practice needs to be experienced over the long term.
In other words, thinking positively and feeling optimistic for a week long vacation when you already have heart disease will certainly not cure the disease. We do, however, know that lowering stress levels over a period of years coupled with a positive outlook (two of the benefits of meditation) can most definitely reduce the risk of health problems.
Just How Does Meditation Make Us Healthier?
Going beyond relaxation and stress management, the obvious benefits of meditation, there are two other significant health benefits of meditation:
Engaging Fully: For decades, researchers have explored people’s satisfaction in their everyday activities. What they found was that people reported the greatest satisfaction when they were totally immersed in and concentrating on what they are doing. They dubbed this state of intense absorption “flow.”
Interestingly enough, when people describe the experience of meditating, they describe a state that sounds very similar to what athletes call “the zone”. The scattered, easily distracted mind gets to experience a blissful state of focus.
With meditation, moving into this memorable state does not need to be haphazard. Steps can be learned to achieve this state and to replicate it.
Doing Good: Those who meditate often describe a deeper sense of connection with others. Many of us serve others in our families and in our communities. Even though volunteering our time is admirable, we may, at the same time, find ourselves resenting those that we serve or the demands of our service.
Because of a deeper sense of connection with others, those who meditate overwhelmingly report being able to serve without resentment. When this is the case, serving others becomes fulfilling rather than just another chore.
Researchers have found that both of these pathways individually contributed significantly to life satisfaction and impacted positively on creating physically healthier and happier individuals. If you’re ready to start reaping the health benefits of meditation, it’s time to get started.