The use of meditation and other mindfulness practices continues to grow in popularity. Many people are realizing the benefits that meditation provides in addressing a variety of health issues.
In addition, the scientific community continues to explore meditation and the ways it can influence the mind and body. Understanding how meditation can benefit your mental health provides you with additional tools to help you achieve greater wellbeing.
A Growing Interest in Meditation
Meditation is quickly becoming an accepted practice in Western culture and in the treatment of physical and mental health issues. Transcendental Meditation, and Mindfulness Meditation have been widely studied and shown to be effective methods for overcoming stress, anxiety, chronic pain, and for preventing relapse for depression.
Research has shown that transcendental meditation may have a positive influence on blood pressure and the body’s immune system, but the benefits are not only physical. Research has also shown that individuals can benefit from establishing a mindfulness practice which can boost the ability to focus, improve sleep, and promote increased empathy for others.
Moreover, researchers are also finding that meditation can trigger activity in the region of the brain that promotes positive thinking and optimism.
The Role of the Mind in Disease
The mind plays an integral role in many illnesses. For example, we know that the inflammatory response is a major factor that contributes to the development of a number of chronic health issues. We now know that stress and our perception of stress can activate inflammatory responses. This understanding has resulted in research exploring the use of meditation as an adjunctive treatment for chronic pain.
Putting it Into Practice
There are various disciplines and methods that are available to clients who are interested in using meditation for their benefit. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy are widely available programs for learning a meditation practice that have an extensive evidence base for the treatment of chronic pain and prevention of depressive relapse.