Meditation has shown to reduce stress. In many studies Mindfulness Meditation also helps reducing anxiety disorders including PTSD and also has been shown to reduce the recurrence of depression in patients (Wikipedia). Since stress impacts the immune system, meditation indirectly helps to improve overall well-being.
Meditation helped to reduce pain by 50 % and maintained this result for over 4 years according to Kabat-Zin. (Clinical Journal of Pain (1986)
National Institute of Health (NIH) notes that meditation and relaxation therapies markedly improved ease of low back pain problems, arthritis, and headaches. (Jama, 276 (4) (1996)
75 % of insomniacs were able to go to sleep within 20 minutes after meditating. (Jacobs, Harvard Medical – Say Goodnight to Insomnia, Owl Books (1999)
There was 50 % reduction in psychiatric symptoms, 70 % decrease in anxiety in the inner-city group residents that were suffering from chronic pain, anxiety, depression, diabetes and hypertension. Roth and Creaser, Nurse Practitioner 22 (3) (1997)
2. Meditation helps to improve your focus (one-pointedness concentration):
Buddhist meditation (Anapana Sati – Mindfulness Meditation) helps to improve your focus. During the meditation, you will learn how to have a one-pointedness concentration on your breath or abdomen rising and falling. Calming down and focusing your mind on one object allows bringing about more awareness in your daily activities.
3. Meditation helps to achieve inner peace and serenity (equanimity)
Buddhist meditation has shown the immediate effect of greater calmness and serenity. With more meditation, you can expect to have equanimity, the sense of inner peace and balance. Over 100,000 meditators at S.N. Goenka 10 day retreats experienced equanimity within first 3 days of meditation. Equanimity is an ability to be a neutral observer and see things as they are and not react to cravings and aversions.
4. Meditation helps to remove suffering (Dukkha – un-satisfactoriness):
In Buddhist philosophy suffering (Dukkha un-satisfactoriness) is a result of excessive desire and attachment. This desire leads to craving of pleasant sensations and aversion of unpleasant sensations. Meditation allows you to understand, experience and deal with unpleasant situations with equanimity.
5. Meditation helps you to live with loving-kindness and compassion:
Neuroscience research using Tibetan Buddhist Monks with over 10,000 hours of meditation showed that Loving-Kindness Meditation has profound effects on the brain by developing compassion towards unknown people. (Richard Davidson). Long-time meditators feel much happier and more compassionate.
6. Meditation helps to bring moment-to-moment awareness (power of now):
Meditation helps to cultivate your mind by bringing moment-to-moment awareness and calming down your busy mind. This can have a broader application to your daily life, make you much happier and allow you to live mindfully.
7. Meditation helps to achieve Buddhist Enlightenment and Nibbana (Nirvana):
Perhaps the overarching goal and benefit of Buddhist meditation is to achieve Buddhist enlightenment and Nibbana (nirvana). Buddha said that everyone can achieve Enlightenment in this lifetime by understanding Four Noble Truths, meditating and following Eightfold path towards liberation and Nibbana.
May you be happy!
Spencer, a.k.a the Urban Monk
- Research on Stress and Meditation – compiled by Clarity Seminars
- Research on Meditation (Wikipedia)
- Richard J Davidson and et al, Regulation of the Neural Circuitry of Emotion by Compassion Meditation: Effects of Meditative Expertise”