Why Meditate - Benefits of Meditating

benefits of meditating

There are lots of ways to be healthy, so why meditate? Meditating is hard and just for yogis, right? Are there any prove health benefits of meditation?  Like many people, I asked these same questions myself.

Due to my religious upbringing, I even viewed meditation with suspicion. Even though the Bible talks about Jesus meditating, we were taught that it was something different. Well, after learning more and experiencing this practice for myself, I am happy to say I had a change of mind.

Meditation benefits your health mentally, physically, and spiritually. Some types are very challenging and take years to master. Other styles are very easy and enjoyable even for a total novice with a short attention span. 

Why Meditate? Physical and Mental Health Benefits of Meditation

Meditation benefits health and well-being in several important ways.

  • People who meditate daily are many times happier than those who don't. They are better at problem-solving and have sharper minds. They develop a sense of stillness, calm awareness, and greater empathy that carries into their daily lives.  
  • After eight weeks of meditating thirty minutes a day, brain scans of Massachusetts General Hospital study participants showed less gray matter in the amygdala and more in the hippocampus. That translates into less anxious and stressful feelings and a greater capacity to learn and remember. 
  • Meditation helps reduce stress and induce calm. This can lower blood pressure and physical health issues caused by stress. Meditators tend to be so much healthier than the general population that some insurance companies reward them with lower premiums! 
  • Preliminary research shows that the health benefits of meditation occur at a cellular level. Along with stress reduction and a proper diet, mediation benefits the telomeres that protect our DNA by increasing levels of the protein telomerase. This slows their shortening and therefore their aging. Even better, meditation may actually stabilize and increase their length over time. During mindfulness meditation, test subjects showed a down-regulation of pro-inflammatory genes compared to those who spent time in a quiet activity. (Source: rawfoodworld.com). . Best of all, genetic activity is altered almost immediately. It doesn't take years of practice to experience this mind-body health benefit of meditation. 
  • A popular reason why we meditate is to slow brain wave frequency. The two hemispheres of the brain work together and become synchronized. This creates neural (nerve cell) structures that allow you to experience life more fully. You are much less likely to become depressed or anxious when using both sides of the brain. When in a relaxed, meditative state of mind, you go deeper into a hypnotic state. The deeper you go, the slower your brain waves, making it  easier to plant suggestions into your subconscious mind and have them accepted. 
  • Meditation benefits you because when you focus on an image, a sound, or a mantra, it brings you into the present moment. Even though the present is all there really is, the mind continually entertains past or future daydreams and their often accompanying negative feelings. When you are fully in the now, you experience a greater sense of inner peace and calm. You are able to think about things with more clarity.
  • Mindful meditation benefits you whether you are a beginner or more advanced.  It is easy, enjoyable, and naturally helps reduce monkey mind chatter and stress. Meditation also teams beautifully with visualization and affirmations for achieving life and wellness goals. 

Why Meditate? Spiritual Benefits

why meditate

The answer to the why meditate question goes beyond physical and mental health. It makes you a more conscious, connected, caring person. 

  • Meditation helps you up-level your consciousness. When you have heightened consciousness you feel more fulfilled. 
  • When you meditate, you strengthen the connection between the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex where you perceive separateness and the insula, which is the empathy center. This connection makes you more generous and empathetic toward others. It also strengthens your mind-body connection so you can perceive what the body is asking for. 

Brain scans of advanced meditators show the front of the brain, the concentration and attention areas, were quite active. The parietal lobe, responsible for orienting us in space and time, was less active than normal. With sensory and cognitive input blocked, we lose the sense of space and time and open to the experience of interconnection and oneness of all.

Spiritual masters have life-long meditation practices to raise spiritual consciousness and access the superconscious or universal mind. At this level, information from your higher self and the field is accessible. You experience a sense of oneness and peace with all that is.

The satori experience is common and highly desirable to those who meditate deeply. It is a sudden realization that there is no separate you. Up down, inside outside, good and evil are all in relationship to another and are imposed on reality. These concepts help us orient in this reality.

Buddha included meditation as one of the six perfections required for one to attain the state of enlightenment. Meditating and concentrating on a single point slows mental activity, making it possible for one to enter samadhi, the state of consciousness beyond waking, dreaming or deep sleep. In Buddhism, mindfulness and concentration are considered fundamental to proper living and usually are cultivated through meditation, chanting and prayer. 

Cultivating the Witness or Observer is another benefit of meditation. As you observe yourself with your awareness, you realize you are not your thoughts and emotions, and they are not you. You become the observer of your thinking and doing, as you would observe others. This is actually a relaxing and enjoyable state of mind. As you practice, you will notice you naturally begin to observe yourself at other times, too. You will become more aware about your thoughts and actions. 

On an energetic level, spirit and soul meditations are practiced for everything from balancing and aligning the chakra energy centers to developing intuition to healing and growing spiritually. 


Why Meditate Related Links:

Want to feel healthy? Happy? Relaxed? Get Matt Clarkson's no-cost mini course. Learn simple meditation exercises for busy people. Each lesson in the course gives you an exercise, inspirational message or tip to calm your mind and reduce stress. Experience the health benefiting effect of meditation for yourself. Click here.


Why meditate? Whether you practice for the health benefits of meditation or for personal development and spiritual growth, you will reap rewards in each area. Meditation benefits you by helping you relax, heal, center and focus. When you just go with the process and release expectations and 'shoulds', you may find your practice quite enjoyable.

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