by Dr Reo Miyoshi
Meditation is a practice of the mind and body that has been used in cultures all over the world from the ancient times all the way through to the current day. Let us go over why it may be beneficial for you.
What is meditation good for?
There are numerous health benefits associated with meditation. These include stress reduction, decreased anxiety, decreased depression, reduction in pain (both physical and psychological), improved memory and increased efficiency. There are also physiological benefits as reduced blood pressure, cortisol (stress hormone) and increased melatonin (sleep hormone).
With aging, the brain cortical thickness (gray matter; the area of the brain that contains neuron/nerve cells important in controlling our body movement, memory and emotions) decreases, whereas meditation experience is associated with an increase in gray matter in the brain (Sharma, 2015).
Can meditation beginners get an effect?
For those who have not experienced meditation before, a recent study conducted into the topic of whether there are effects of meditation on those that have never meditated before resulted with meditation novice (beginner) participants showing benefits of meditation after being exposed to the routine (Hedy Kober, 2019).
But, just the same as exercise, meditation will work best with more benefits when done regularly. It is best to find a meditation routine that works for you and make it a habit to make the biggest changes.
A simple meditation routine as an example
- Find yourself a quiet spot so that you don’t get easily distracted.
- Get settled into a comfortable position, such as sitting on a chair or lying on the floor.
- Set the timer to the time of your choice and close your eyes.
- Focus your attention on one thing, such as your breathing, the sounds around you or a specific object. (meditation, n.d.)
This is a very simple form of meditating but the general principle behind the many types that exist are similar. Some may work better than others for you so if you have found one that works for you, try and stick to that routine.
The bottom line
There are various styles in the arts of meditation, each with its strengths and benefits. You can search and try different styles on your own or alternatively there are options such as apps, podcasts, courses and groups that are widely available. But in summary meditation is something you can do anytime and anywhere that can have the potential to give you numerous health benefits and improve your overall quality of life.
Hedy Kober, J. B. (2019). Let it be: mindful acceptance down-regulates pain and negative emotion.
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, Volume 14, Issue 11, 1147–1158.
meditation. (n.d.). From https://www.healthdirect.gov.au: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/meditation
Sharma, H. (2015). “Meditation: Process and effects.”. Ayu vol. 36,3 , 233-7.