3 Ways Meditation Improves Mental Health
Sep 16, 2022
By: Ashley Welch
Meditation has a number of health benefits, but perhaps the most pronounced is the positive impact it can have on our minds.
A large body of scientific research confirms what those who have practiced meditation for centuries have always known: meditation brings a sense of inner peace, promotes relaxation, and reduces feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression.
Check out these three evidence-backed ways meditation can improve your mental health.
1. Meditation works as a stress reducer
Many people find their way to meditation as a means to help reduce stress. These days, it can feel like stress is just a part of everyday life. But research shows even brief meditation practices can lead to a reduction in stress.
One of the goals of meditation is to focus your attention and put away the jumbled thoughts from the day and worries about tomorrow that can cause stress. Doing so promotes a sense of peace and relaxation, leading stress to melt away and ultimately enhance your mental and emotional well-being.
Meditation can even help reduce stress and lead to more productivity while working. A recent study found that participating in a 6-week online mindfulness meditation course led to lower stress levels and higher engagement at work.
2. Meditation eases symptoms of depression and anxiety
A large number of scientific studies have found that meditation can help reduce symptoms of mental health disorders like depression and anxiety. One meta-analysis of nearly 1,300 adults, for example, determined that practicing meditation is effective at treating anxiety, with the most benefit seen in people with the highest levels of anxiety.
Similarly, another research review found meditation led to moderate to large reductions in depression symptoms in patients suffering from severe depressive disorders.
3. Meditation can you help manage negative emotions
Some scientific research suggests meditating can help people regulate negative emotions like anger and fear.
One study concluded that practicing mindfulness meditation led to “greater increases in self-compassion, and decreases in fear of emotions, suppression of anger, aggressive anger expression, worry, and difficulties regulating emotions.”
Another study found that individuals who participated in a mindfulness exercise experienced fewer negative thoughts when viewing negative images than people who did not practice meditation prior to viewing the images.
Other research suggests meditation can help cancer survivors lower their fear of cancer returning. This fear can be so distressing it negatively impacts mood, relationships, and quality of life. A review of studies on the topic found that practicing mind-body interventions like meditation led to significant decreases in fear of disease returning among cancer survivors.
How to get started with a meditation practice
Anyone can practice meditation anywhere at any time. To get started, find a quiet place and sit in a comfortable position. For maximum comfort, consider the Float Meditation Cushion, which is ergonomically designed to help you find the proper posture for meditation, allowing you to focus on your inner journey. Take a few deep breaths and pay attention to the air flowing in and out of your nose. Notice if your mind is wandering and when it does, try to turn your attention back to your breath. If you start doing this practice even for a few minutes every day, you’ll start noticing the positive mental health effects of meditation.