Meditation which is steeped in spirituality and devotion since ancient times is being increasingly practiced as a way of life by individuals today for ensuring their mental and physical wellness. Meditation is of varied kinds like mindfulness meditation, loving-kindness meditation and transcendental meditation.
Research conducted on the effects of mindfulness and meditation on the mind and body give insight on the following aspects.
Meditation and mindfulness is said to alleviate stress that occurs due to family or work pressures. Varied studies undertaken in this context state that practicing transcendental meditation does help to reduce stress. Meditation lowers the levels of molecule ‘nuclear factor kappa B’ which subsequently leads to lowered cytokine activity. This in turn helps in alleviating several mental and physical health issues. Other benefits include enhancement of nerve cell health, effective regulation of metabolic processes, reducing pain severity in chronic pain ailments.
Mindfulness is a great technique for achieving better self-control. Studies have shown that goals of reducing smoking, cutting down of alcohol, losing weight have a greater probability of being achieved if the individuals are exposed to mindfulness training.
Studies have associated meditation to better brain health. Rewiring the brain’s neural pathways, enhanced energy levels, better attention and effective executive functioning were some of the benefits linked to consistent practice of meditation and yoga; which have also been said to be an effective and low-cost tool to combat the onslaught of dementia.
Some individuals have reported symptoms of dizziness, anxiety, physical pain, depression symptoms and depersonalization after practicing mindfulness or meditation. However, the researchers who analyzed this aspect reported that this was because of not understanding the finer aspects of mindfulness which could occur due to an inexperienced instructor. It is therefore important to select an instructor who is thoroughly experienced in administering mindfulness as a part of treatment therapy.