Some forms of meditation may help you develop a stronger understanding of yourself, helping you grow into your best self and may cultivate more creative problem solving. Self-inquiry and related styles of meditation can help you “know yourself.” This can be a starting point for making other positive changes.
Lengthen Attention Span
Focused-attention meditation is like weight lifting for your attention span. It helps increase the strength and endurance of your attention. Meditation may even reverse patterns in the brain that contribute to mind-wandering, worrying and poor attention.
Several types of meditation may build your ability to redirect and maintain attention. As little as four days of meditation may have an effect.
May assist with reducing age-related memory loss
Improvements in attention and clarity of thinking may help keep your mind young. Kirtan Kriya is a method of meditation that combines a mantra or chant with repetitive motion of the fingers to focus thoughts.
In addition to fighting normal age-related memory loss, meditation can at least partially improve memory in patients with dementia. It can also help control stress and improve coping in those caring for family members with dementia.
The improved focus you can gain through regular meditation may increase memory and mental clarity. These benefits can help fight age-related memory loss and dementia.
May promote kindness
Some types of meditation may particularly increase positive feelings and actions toward yourself and others.
Metta, a type of meditation also known as loving-kindness meditation, begins with developing kind thoughts and feelings toward yourself.
Through practice, people learn to extend this kindness and forgiveness externally, first to friends, then acquaintances and ultimately enemies. These benefits also appear to accumulate over time with the practice of loving-kindness meditation.
Metta, or loving-kindness meditation, is a practice of developing positive feelings, first toward yourself and then toward others. Metta increases positivity, empathy and compassionate behavior toward others.
May assist with overcoming addictions
The mental discipline you can develop through meditation may help you break dependencies by increasing your self-control and awareness of triggers for addictive behaviors. Meditation may also help you control food cravings.
Meditation develops mental discipline and willpower and can help you avoid triggers for unwanted impulses. This can help you recover from addiction, lose weight and redirect other unwanted habits.
Promote healthy sleeping patterns
Nearly half the population will struggle with insomnia at some point. Becoming skilled in meditation may help you control or redirect the racing or “runaway” thoughts that often lead to insomnia. Additionally, it can help relax your body, releasing tension and placing you in a peaceful state in which you’re more likely to fall asleep.
A variety of meditation techniques can help you relax and control the “runaway” thoughts that can interfere with sleep. This can shorten the time it takes to fall asleep and increase sleep quality.
Increase pain threshold
Your perception of pain is connected to your state of mind, and it can be elevated in stressful conditions.
In each of these scenarios, meditators and non-meditators experienced the same causes of pain, but meditators showed a greater ability to cope with pain and even experienced a reduced sensation of pain.
Meditation can diminish the perception of pain in the brain. This may help treat chronic pain when used as a supplement to medical care or physical therapy.
Reduce High Blood Pressure
Meditation can also improve physical health by reducing strain on the heart. Over time, high blood pressure makes the heart work harder to pump blood, which can lead to poor heart function. High blood pressure also contributes to atherosclerosis, or narrowing of the arteries, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
In part, meditation appears to control blood pressure by relaxing the nerve signals that coordinate heart function, tension in blood vessels and the “fight-or-flight” response that increases alertness in stressful situations.
Blood pressure decreases not only during meditation, but also over time in individuals who meditate regularly. This can reduce strain on the heart and arteries, helping prevent heart disease.