What are the Benefits of Meditation?

What are the Benefits of Meditation?

by Dr Emma Gray - 7th June, 2018


Meditation used to be the sole reserve of Tibetan monks and Master Yogis but now it is well and truly part of the public consciousness with videos on YouTube, Apps and countless online articles and books. So why, after hundreds of years, is meditation suddenly so en vogue. Basically, science has stepped in and proven it’s worth. So, what exactly can you expect to achieve if you take up meditation.

First all of all it is important to point out that meditation is not the same as relaxation, although relaxation is sometimes a secondary benefit of meditation. Relaxation stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, or the ‘rest and digest’ system which is responsible for bringing the body back into balance after the ‘fight or flight’ response has been triggered. Meditation is about training the mind to see things as they are rather than through the lens of our past experiences which lead us to see and hear things that aren’t necessarily present in that moment (e.g. danger and criticism) and expect things that are unlikely to happen (e.g. accidents and rejection). This results in a lot of unnecessary distress and discomfort and freeing ourselves from this through meditation has a number of proven benefits.

Physical Health Benefits

Meditation has been shown to improve our immune function, reduce pain and reduce inflammation at the cellular level (something that has been linked to cancer, heart disease, Alzheimers and Diabetes).

Mental Health Benefits

Research has shown that meditation increases positive emotions, reduces depression, anxiety stress and enables us to have more control over our emotions. Meditation has also been shown to increase our feeling of connection with and compassion for others and reduce feelings of loneliness.

Finally, Meditation has  been found to increase our potential for success by improving our focus and attention, increasing our ability to multi-task, our memory and our creativity.

To experience these benefits you only need to meditate for 8-10 minutes on 5 out of 7 days. Here is an easy and quick meditation exercise that you can incorporate into your daily routine.

If you are suffering with any of the issues discussed in this article and would like to seek professional help then you may find our Problems Pages helpful.

Dr Emma Gray

Dr Emma Gray

I am often the first person with whom my patients share significant and intimate thoughts and memories; I never take that privileged position for granted nor the opportunity to help someone to feel better about themselves and discover a more fulfilling life. One of my colleagues once described me as a natural psychologist; I guess she was alluding to the fact that I feel at ease being a therapist, I can empathise with people’s distress and discomfort but don’t feel overwhelmed by it, I can understand their problem and know how to help, it has always just felt like what I should be doing.

Read more about my approach to counselling here...

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