How meditations help with mental health?
Ancient seers had great power and control over the mind which was exercised for public health and welfare. This control over mind was possible only through constant unwavering meditation. This form of practice was handed to us by them over generations so as to develop control over the mind. In today’s hectic world this practice assumes even more significance than ever.
Stress and Mental Health
The constant rat race to achieve materialistic goals, to satisfy unwarranted desires in the form of money, properties or insecurity about future or just the desire to excel exceptionally without proper foundation has led to catastrophic effects in the lives of all beings. The result is an exponential surge in the deteriorating mental health of individuals. People are overly stressed, tensed all the time leading to mental health problems like dull worn-out mind, anxiety, depression, leading to suicidal tendencies in the worst cases. Now in these times of lockdown, the mental health issues have skyrocketed badly. What should be our approach-should we blame our surroundings for this negativity or keep calm and prepare ourselves for a brighter future. Common sense dictates that we prepare for a better future. How should we go about it? Yes, the answer lies in incorporating the time tested practice of meditation in our lives.
Also Read: Can Meditation Cure Diseases?
Meditation – A preventive and curative therapy
Meditation is basically an exercise of mind. It trains the mind to focus and readdress the constant flow of thoughts. With continuous training, the wavering mind tends to calm down and concentrate on a particular aspect for an extended period of time. There are different forms of meditation, but in general all of these work to shut off the chattering of mind and can be achieved in silence or by chanting continuously. Meditation at its core has a higher purpose; it is a means to transform one’s mind. It might be done either for spiritual upliftment or as a religious practice or simply for relaxation. In any case, it works as both preventive and curative therapy against various mental and physical disorders. People who practice meditation vouch for its benefits. Let’s look through some of them
- Stress – FREE
When we are in an unpleasant situation our mind and body synergistically work to relieve the stress by releasing hormones like cortisol which prepares us to fight or flight response. But when the stress continues indefinitely both mind and body are unable to cope up any longer. As a result anxiety depression, anger, and irritation take over. Chronic illnesses like diabetes, hypertension, heart problems, and obesity develop roots and flourish. Meditation helps in calming the mind which in turn calms the body; the result being more cheerful, contented, and better management of illness. Thus continuous meditation puts the mind under a ground state by which it automatically shrugs off stress relaxing the mind and body. I would say Meditation is an outstanding leader in stress management class.
According to a study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, 2014 meditation programs over an 8-week long period showed improvement in subjects suffering from depression and anxiety.
- Positive Energy
Meditation relaxes the mind and body by enhancing the energy currency in us. It instills positivity and optimism. When the stress level is brought down, it brings in clarity of thoughts and when there is a clear plan ahead we become positive in our thoughts and action. There are numerous research studies that can be quoted in this regard. However, why not try yourself at home. Just grab a comfortable place and sit straight, close eyes, and just feel the breathing for 15mins daily. You can feel the positive energy booming. Initially, it might be difficult to sit silently but with practice, we can feel the constructive energy taking shape. This manifests in an enhanced understanding of the problem in concern, we become creative and perceive our surroundings better. The destructive emotions like fear, anger, irritation, sullenness, and agitation can be better managed. One can review the study published in the Journal Frontiers in Neuroscience, 2016 as a reference.
According to research, trauma victims, cancer survivors were able to manage their fears by meditation. In fact, during this lockdown let’s try to bring out the inner positive energy from its shell.
Also Read:How Meditation Can Cure Stress
- Improves memory
Often due to excessive stress, we tend to lose memory, become forgetful which can affect both professional and personal life. Stress promotes blood vessel rigidity; thereby the brain receives very little oxygen and nutrition. As a result, gradually we observe dullness of mind, lethargy, forgetfulness. Meditation relaxes the entire system, promotes better nutrition in the brain thereby making it more sharp, aware, and attentive. When the mind is attentive work gets done faster with better efficiency.
There are meditative practices where one has to chant a mantra for a specific number of times using the fingers. It has been shown to increase memory power in elderly people also. Thus meditation is highly efficient in delaying the age-related onset of memory loss.
- Enhanced self awareness
Meditation brings clarity to our thoughts and actions. As a result, we become aware of our strengths and weakness. It enhances the good qualities in us thereby making us more self-aware. Higher self-esteem, confidence helps us take on the competitive world with much vigor. The idea is to complain less and improve work efficiency more. Well, we all like to be appreciated both at home and at work. That can happen when we believe in ourselves and this confidence gets boosted through meditation.
- Generates filial piety
The world lacks love and compassion at large. Stress has robbed us of our inner goodness. We no longer give importance to others. We lack humility, gratitude, and compassion. Meditation restores these uplifting feelings. With regular meditation, we develop kindness, inculcate love, and brotherhood towards our friends, family, and society at large. Metta, a type of meditation specifically harnesses these feelings.
There are many studies published to highlight the fact that meditation improves mental wellbeing. Why not do it and let the practical approach speak for itself after all the taste of the pudding is in the eating, right!