The Modern World keeps demanding more from us, and the trend will not change anytime soon. Humans are more frequently under stressful situations than ever before. The effect of constantly living under stressful circumstances means our stress response mechanism, which should only be activated in life-threatening circumstances- is triggered many times a day. Daily occurrences like heavy workloads, traffic jams, financial constraints and troubled relationships considerably add to our stress levels.
When our stress response is triggered, it could take up to an hour before our bodies return to normalcy after alleviating the stress trigger. This implies we are spending excessive amounts of our time in a stressed state. Such heightened stress levels negatively impact our health in the short and long term. We are witnessing increased anxiety, suppressed immunity, frequent headaches, complications with digestion, insomnia, fatigue and burnout due to rising stress levels.
In a recent report, the World Health Organization (WHO) predicted that burnout will be a global pandemic by 2030, with an estimated annual cost of $300 billion. Meditation is touted as one of the remedies that can help humanity cope with ever-rising stress levels. This article will explore the role that meditation could play in modern healthcare.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is the process of training the mind to focus and do away with cluttered and stressful thoughts leading to a state of pleasantness both mentally and physically. The practice of meditation results in a deep state of tranquility and relaxation. Meditation has been practiced for millennia in certain cultures around the world mainly to help practitioners deepen their understanding and experience of the mystical aspects of life. These days meditation has gained popularity as a complementary medicine for the mind and body.
Benefits of Meditation in Modern Healthcare
The benefits of meditation don’t end after the session but linger on for a while, and frequent practice can help transform your life. Meditation has numerous benefits for those under stressors and those with certain illnesses. Below are some benefits attributed to meditation.
1. Control Stress and Depression
Certain forms of meditation may lead to an improved self-image and a positive outlook, reducing stress and depression. Meditation has the effect of reducing cytokines, which are inflammatory chemicals released when one is under stress. Cytokines impact mood and lead to depression.
Many practitioners of meditation say that it reduces the number of their negative thoughts. A review of 3500 adults under treatment for depression found that mindfulness meditation improved their condition significantly.
2. Reduces Memory Loss
Meditation has been shown to improve memory among those with dementia and normal age-associated memory loss. Studies carried out on a particular meditation process called Kirtan Kriya which combines a mantra with the motion of fingers to focus attention, have shown that it could delay age-related memory loss by improving performance on neuropsychological tests. Such improvements in attention and clear thinking help the mind perform optimally.
Another review also demonstrated that some meditation techniques could improve older people’s attention, memory and mental alertness.
3. Aids Better Sleep
Current global trends suggest that half of the world’s population will soon suffer from insomnia. One study comparing mindful meditation programs discovered that participants who practiced meditation slept longer and more deeply and were less likely to experience insomnia.
The positive effects of meditation on sleep can be explained by the fact that meditation helps one to eliminate the runway thoughts that are likely to keep one awake. Furthermore, meditation helps to relax the body, release tension, and place someone in a pleasant state, supporting deep sleep.
4. Reduces Blood Pressure
High blood pressure makes the heart strain to pump blood which could lead to poor heart health. In addition, high blood pressure could lead to a hardening and narrowing of the arteries leading to strokes and heart attacks. Meditation has been shown to reduce strain on the heart, thereby contributing to a healthy heart function.
A systemic review involving 1000 participants revealed that meditation could reduce blood pressure. The effects were considerable among older participants with high blood pressure before the study. The explanation behind the results is that meditation reduces blood pressure through the relaxation of the nerve signals which coordinate the functioning of the heart, blood vessels tension and fight or flight response, which is triggered in stressful circumstances.
We encourage everyone to set aside some time to practice meditation because of the related benefits. Meditation has been shown to improve mental, emotional and physical health. The good thing about meditation is that it can be done anywhere and doesn’t need any special facilities. Those willing can purchase meditation courses or join widely available support groups. Otherwise, there are many coaches and free materials to support you in the practice of meditation.