12 Mental Health Benefits of Meditation Proven By Science
12 Mental Health Benefits of Meditation Proven By Science

There are so many mental health benefits of meditation. 

As a meditation teacher I am always inspired by stories of people overcoming anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems with meditation. 

I myself once suffered from mental health complications. And it was only through meditation that I was able to recover. 

Take a look at the mental health benefits of meditation below. They truly are inspiring. 

 

Mental Health Benefits Of Meditation For Anxiety, Depression And More 

1. Mental Health Benefits of meditation for brain electiricity 

A study by the Norwegian Institute of Science And Technology showed that meditation improves electrical activity in the brain.

Meditation = Brain Gains.

If you’re brain fit, this will be one of the main advantages of meditation for you. 

Most of us have experienced those times when we simply  zone-out, when we are restful and are not focusing on anything in particular. Those times offer your brain relaxation. But science has shown that when you actively practice an “open” meditation technique (when you are being mindful of your environment without focusing on any one specific thing) you actually change electrical brainwaves that are associated with wakeful, relaxed attention.

Source: ScienceDaily.

 2. Mental Health Benefits of meditation for serotonin

Low serotonin levels are one of the main causes of depression. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps your brain pass information from one region to another. Almost all your 40 million braincells are influenced by serotonin. So it is easy to see why a lack of serotonin could seriously harm you, psychologically.

Happy people have high levels of serotonin. And thankfully, for those people with low serotonin levels, meditation can help.

Meditation inhibits activity in the stress-production regions of the brain and increases activity in the regions that promote happiness. This raises serotonin development, which leads to a wide variety of psychological health benefits.

Mindflness improves willpower.

No one’s perfect. And a lot of imperfections come down to a momentary lack of willpower. Whether you’re struggling to quit smoking or can’t quite find the energy to hit the gym, meditation can help.

Practicing mindfulness meditation for just a few minutes each day will increase your willpower by building grey matter in regions of the brain that govern decision making. I’ve written a complete guide to mindfulness meditation to help you get started (find it using the link above). And within a few minutes of practicing, you will increase grey matter in parts of the brain that govern self control. This will boost your willpower and make it easier for you to stop bad habits and start good ones.

 3. Benefits of Binaural beats meditation for brain synchronicity

Your brain is divided into two halves, the right and the left. Between those two halves is the “corpus callosum”.  The corpus callosum is a band of nerve fibers that allow the left and ride sides of your brain to communicate with one another. This is important because both sides of your brain play different roles. The right side is for creativity. The left side is for rational think and logic.  It’s only by communicating with one another that those two sides form one powerful unit.

Meditation and binaural beat, have been shown to allow the left and right sides of your brain to communicate more effectively. This in turn leads to more mental balance and better overall cognitive function.

 4. Mental Health Benefits of meditation for brain size

One of the fascinating facts about meditation is that it actually increased white matter in your brain.

Yi-Yuan Tang, PhD, and a group of researchers at the University of Texas studied the affect of meditation on mind-body connection.  They assigned college graduates either integrative mind-body training or a relaxation session. They took brain scans before and after 11 hours of these activities.  The scans showed more white matter in the neurons around the anterior cingulate cortex, the part of the brain responsible for self-regulation, in the people who practiced mind-body training. They also observed heightened love, compassion, happiness and relaxation.

I created this little infographic to show you the benefits of meditation on the brain. Isn’t it amazing how meditation changes the brain?

benefits of meditation on brain

5. An advantage of meditation for athletes–better reactions

Meditation improves performance on tests and reaction times. Scientists at the Department of Biology at the University of Kentucky tested whether meditation could help people to complete a psychomotor vigilance task. A group of people who were new to meditation spent 40 minutes meditating. They were then tested on the vigilance task. And all test subjects scored significantly higher after meditating. The researchers said that this showed a significant improvement in their reaction times.

 

 

 6. Benefits of Loving Kindness Meditation on self confidence

One of the great personal advantages of meditation is this: meditation makes you confident.

Many of us in the West have experienced moments of low self confidence. But in Tibet, low self confidence is rare.

Did you know: low self confidence is incredibly rare in Tibet

So rare, in fact, that when the Dalai Lama heard that low self confidence was a problem here he did not believe it. He then set out to cure the problem.

He believed that if people in the West started practicing loving kindness meditation their low self esteem would be cured. And he was right.

When you meditate you become aware of the inter connectivity between all people, and you gain a powerful realisation that you are not alone. This inter-connection helps you to feel more a part of the world, and significantly improves self confidence. This is a big benefit of meditation, given how important self confidence is to our wellbeing.

 

 7. One of the major mental health of meditation: it reduces symptoms of anxiety

Dr. Elizabeth Hoge at the Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders at Massachusetts General Hospital tells us that meditation is one of the best ways of reducing the symptoms of anxiety.  “People with anxiety have a problem dealing with distracting thoughts that have too much power,” she explains. “They can’t distinguish between a problem-solving thought and a nagging worry that has no benefit.” Meditation, she says, helps people to distinguish types of thoughts in the mind so people with anxiety can control their “nagging thoughts” and reduce their anxiety.

Read our complete guide to using meditation for anxiety.

 

 8. Benefits of meditation for depression

Meditation is one of the best ways of both preventing depression and treating depression. There have been very many studies into the effects of meditation on depression. One study suggested that if you meditate while doing vigorous exercise it will be one of the best possible treatments for depression. A study by the University of Exeter looked into mindfulness and stated that mindfulness is more effective than drugs at treating depression.

Read our complete guide to using meditation for depression.

 9. Benefits of Mindfulness-based stress reduction helps with postpartum depression

According to the Centers for Disease Control, between 11% and 20% of women suffer postpartum depression after having a child.

in 2015, Dr Dona Dimidjian [professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Colorado] published an article in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology in which she states that mindfulness can significantly reduce the risk of postpartum depression.

READ: Best Meditations For Stress Relief.

 

 

 10. Benefits of mindfulness for addictions

There are lots of different meditation techniques that can be helpful for treating addictions and cravings. But research suggests that mindfulness might be the best.

Researchers at the University of Washington studied 286 people who has successfully completed a drug rehabilitation program. They assigned them either a course of mindfulness meditation, a conventional relapse prevention program, or a 12 step program. Their results showed the when mindfulness was used in rehab the chances of success were significantly increased. Only 9% of the people who had used mindfulness relapsed, which is 5% less than the other two groups.

 

 11. Mental Health Benefits of meditation for aging

Could meditation even help slow the aging process? Research suggest yes. And it is actually quite easy to see how meditation helps with aging when you understand the process of aging.

Stress, anxiety, depression, addiction, these all increase the aging rate. And as we’ve already seen, meditation helps with all these things. So by creating balance and health, meditation helps to slow the aging rate.

One study, published in 2013, found that as little as 15 minutes meditation immediately increased activity of the gene that creates telomerase, which is an indicator of longevity.

Source: The Guardian

 12. Mental And Physical Benefits Of Meditation on Aging

One of the most amazing benefits of meditation is that it slows the aging process. We’ve already started to look at this. So, let’s recap.

The aging process is largely caused by the breaking down of cells in your body. Your skin cells, for instance, grow old and get replaced by new ones, but it is difficult for your body to produce cells fast enough. This gradually makes your skin weaker, making you age.

When you meditate you give your body a break so that it can focus on working on those core operations (like cell production).

We’ve also seen how meditation increases the length of telomeres in your body. Telomeres are indictors of longevity. If you want to know how long you will live, take a look at your telomeres under a very powerful microscope. The longer they are the longer you will probably live. Good news is that meditation actually increases the length of telomeres.

We all know that stress is one of the worst things for aging. The more stressed you are the faster you will age. And the reason for that is because stress makes it harder for your body to function. And we have looked at how meditation produces relaxation and stops stress.

Put all this together and you’ll understand why meditation is such a powerful way of slowing the aging process.

 

NEXT: Cognitive Benefits—> 

INDEX:

Physical Health Benefits Of Meditation

Mental Health Benefits Of Meditation

Emotional Benefits Of Meditation

Cognitive Benefits Of Meditation

Relationship Benefits Of Meditation

Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a meditation teacher, author and journalist based in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential.

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