East Jefferson General Hospital

Top Five Benefits of Meditation

I recently read an interesting article that appeared on CNN.com about the positive effects of mediation, particularly in the area of pain control or suppression. The article specifically discussed a clinical study that appeared in the April 6 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience from researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. In the study, a subject group was administered a slight burn before and after mediation and measured their pain sensitivity.

The researchers studied the data and concluded that meditation did "reduce a person's sensitivity to pain." Other studies over the years have also shown clinical benefits of meditation.

I believe that whatever goal you have in life, you first and foremost have to be in the right frame of mind. Whether you are trying to lose weight, meet deadlines at work, deal with a chronic illness or just keep up the busy pace of life, taking a few minutes out of your day to clear your mind and focus your energy can make a tremendous difference.

The great thing about meditation is that it is something you can do almost anywhere and perhaps without any cost. Although there are plenty of ways or techniques you can use, meditation at its core stresses quiet relaxation, reflection, controlled breathing and the need to block out distractions so that you can focus on clearing the mind. You can do this at home or work, or you can even take a class such as Yoga or Tai chi. I recommend you try different forms of meditation until you find one that works best for you.

The top five benefits of meditation are:

Stress Reduction – chronic stress can be very detrimental to all aspects of life as your body constantly reacts to the stressors.

Lower Blood Pressure – calming effects of meditation can reduce blood pressure, specifically at more stressful parts of your day.

Better Sleep – anxiety can contribute to restlessness and insomnia. Going to bed in a more relaxed state can give you a deeper, less disturbed night's rest.

Fights Depression – depression often worsens with negative thoughts or when you lack focus. Learning how to refocus on positives often helps put you in better control of emotions.

Weight Loss – stress often leads to overeating and the eating of junk food. Meditation can help to concentrate on healthy activities such as eating right and exercise.