Many know about the common benefits of meditation. We’re talking stress reduction, better concentration, and higher levels of creativity which occur with repetitive practice. What many may not know about are these unexpected benefits that also come along for the ride.
#1. Meditation can boost your self-esteem. Negative self-talk happens to many without them even realizing that they’re doing it. Through meditation, even the most self-critical of people are able to reduce negative feelings toward themselves while increasing positive emotions.
#2. Your focus can improve as well. We’re going to define focus here as “information retention.” When meditating on a regular basis, the mind is more receptive to the information it is absorbing in the world around you. This helps you be able to recall this information when you may need to use it – like on a test at school.
#3. It changes the brain. There are several changes that happen in the brains of people who meditate frequently. Maybe the most exciting change is the slowing of the aging process. People who meditate regularly have thicker cortical walls in their brains compared to people who do not.
#4. Meditation can be an anti-depressant that also affects anxiety levels. The practice of meditation has shown to be as effective as anti-depressant medication for those suffering from the signs and symptoms of depression. Anxiety can also be brought under control. Now the research into this benefit has only involved mindfulness meditation so far, but other forms may also bring about similar results.
#5. You feel more awake. Do you need to have some caffeine to get your body in gear for the morning routine? Are you at 1 cup, 3 cups, or more? Meditation has shown to help people be more alert during the day. This means your mind is actively engaged with the world around you as you go about the tasks of your day.
#6. It can help to manage adult ADHD. Notice that it doesn’t say “control” for this benefit. A highly personalized treatment plan is often necessary to help adults gain control over their core ADHD symptoms. For some with this attention disorder, the addition of meditation to their normal treatment plan was found to be beneficial in a reduction of core symptoms.
#7. Meditation helps with pain tolerance. It’s so effective, in fact, that some people who practice meditation frequently report feelings of complete relief, even when the pain has been chronic. Wake Forest Baptist University has studied the relationship between pain and meditation and found that with regular practice, pain can be reduced by up to 40%. Morphine, on the other hand, provides pain reduction levels of up to 25%.
#8. You give your immune system a boost. People who meditate frequently and regularly have been found to have higher levels of antibodies in their system compared to people who do not meditate at all. This is currently for those who practice mindfulness meditation, but there could be a similar benefit available for other meditation types as well.
#9. It can help you when you need to multitask. Every time you change a task during the day, you can lose up to 15 minutes of meaningful productivity. With meditation providing you with supports, you can reduce that down time to remain more consistent with your work, studying, or other chores.
These unexpected benefits of meditation begin to unlock the depths of what it really means to be human. You get to explore who you are, guard against the rigors of a bad day, and begin to create a level of positive consistency within your life. The good news? It only takes about 2 weeks of daily meditation to start seeing these benefits.
What unexpected benefits have you noticed that you attribute to meditation? I’d love to hear about your experiences and how meditation has helped you.