Meditation is a practice that seeks tranquility and well-being by integrating mind and body. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health in the United States, this technique has positive effects on several aspects of health, including improving sleep.
The Nccih points out that many of the meditation techniques have their roots in Eastern traditions. Some types focus on holding the thought of a particular sensation, such as the breath, a sound, an image, or a mantra. Another approach is mindfulness, where you hold your awareness in the present.
What are the benefits of meditation?
According to Nccih, the mental health benefits of meditation include treating anxiety and depression. Harvard Medical School also notes that mindfulness meditation improves your ability to manage stress.
Meditation may be as effective as medication at reducing anxiety symptoms, according to a randomized study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry. As part of the study, nearly 300 people were randomly assigned to either take an antidepressant or participate in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program that included daily meditation and face-to-face classes.
After about eight weeks, both groups showed a 30 percent reduction in anxiety symptoms, Harvard Medical School concludes.
Meditation as a supplement to conventional medical care
The Nccih emphasizes that meditation should not replace conventional medical care or be an excuse to postpone a doctor’s visit.
In addition to the mental health benefits, the American Heart Association mentions that there is evidence of meditation’s impact on the brain. According to this association, meditation can increase information processing skills, slow down cognitive aging, reduce inflammation, boost the immune system, relieve menopausal symptoms, and improve sleep.
Although more research is needed, meditation is considered a beneficial option for mental health and overall well-being.