Meditation has been practiced by cultures all over the world for thousands of years. Western medicine has only recently discovered that the practice has physical and mental benefits in addition to simply making you feel less stressed. Today we are talking about how meditation benefits your mental health. Meditation is also beneficial to one’s well-being and emotional intelligence. Research indicates that this ancient practice can improve your mental health by altering the structure of your brain.
What Effects Does Meditation Have on the Brain?
The amygdala in the brain controls the “fear centers” and initiates the body’s fight or flight response. A 2012 study by Debord et al used magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) to look at the brains of study participants to see if meditation changes the brain or if it only affects a person while they are meditating. The researchers wanted to see “how 8 weeks of meditation training affects amygdala responses to emotional stimuli in subjects when they are not meditating.”
“This finding suggests that the effects of meditation training on emotional processing may transfer to non-meditative states,” the researchers wrote. This is consistent with the hypothesis that meditation training may induce learning that is process-specific rather than stimulus- or task-specific, resulting in long-term changes in mental function.
Is Meditation Effective for Anxiety?
Anxiety begins with our worries about the future or our relationships and our daily lives. Meditation can help with anxiety by allowing you to stop focusing on the past or the future and instead concentrate on the present moment. Being present in the here and now is, in fact, the foundation of mindfulness meditation. We can learn to calm the emotion behind our worries and fearful thoughts by being mindful, and we can begin to stop reacting to them.
When you concentrate solely on the present moment, your mind relaxes, allowing you to see things from a different angle. Although you are unlikely to experience complete anxiety relief the first time you try mindfulness, you should feel some relief from your worries. You will improve over time if you continue to practice.
Is Meditation Beneficial for Depression?
Depression is caused by stress and anxiety, as well as how we respond to them, so anything that can help reduce these conditions should also help prevent depression.
How meditation benefits your mental health?
Because even a brief meditation can help you prepare for a stressful situation (for example, closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths to calm yourself before going into a business meeting), it can also be beneficial for reducing anxiety and stress, which can lead to depression.