Meditation can help people with a range of physical and mental health conditions, with a new study showing it could even help those living with dementia.
Getting a bit of peace and quiet after a busy day can make the hard work worth it, but our hectic lives mean ‘me time’ often gets neglected. The rapid uptake of technology over the past decade by people of all ages has meant it's easier than ever to be connected to our loved ones, but contrastingly, it’s even more difficult to get away from it all.
Meditation encourages people of all ages to take some time to be mindful and present, allowing for a few precious moments of calm. But are there any tangible benefits to it?
Science suggests so. Studies have shown how effective meditation can be for managing conditions like anxiety and stress, and the latest research indicates that it could even help stave off dementia.
So what benefits does meditation offer?
Clears your mind
Meditation offers the opportunity to take some time away from everyday chaos, and can have positive effects on our mental health. From helping people manage symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress, to allowing people to think with a little more clarity, meditation can really help clear the mind and help us relax, and with regular practice, help us to control our stress levels.
Improves heart health
Meditation has been proven to encourage better heart health thanks to the practice of calm breathing, which promotes healthier blood pressure. This is one of the key risk markers for cardiovascular problems. Striving for a healthier reading could help to prevent future heart problems, such as stroke or heart attacks.
Reduces dementia risk
Due to a newly-discovered link between mid-life anxiety and later-life dementia, scientists believe that practices like meditating could reduce risk of Alzheimer's disease and similar conditions. This is a new and exciting area of research, which needs to be further explored, but could result in meditating being prescribed to people that have a higher risk of dementia.
Boosts concentration and attention span
Meditating has been used for centuries to help people better focus on certain tasks or problems. By encouraging the practitioner to clear their mind of small worries and general concerns, it can give them the mental space to concentrate on a specific task or problem. It's also been used to help people who suffer with irrational fears, such as flying, to deal with difficult situations and focus on something else.
Improves your thinking ability
Slowing down and regulating your breathing can have a number of physical benefits for your body. This is because it impacts the levels of a natural chemical messenger in the brain called noradrenaline, which is released whenever we're focused, curious or challenged mentally. When it's produced at optimal levels, it helps the brain to create new connections, making it easier to solve problems and find the answers you're looking for. It can also boost your memory and emotional control by allowing you to process information more clearly.