Stress is a very common result of this hard-paced and goal-oriented world. Spending some time with the self can be a reprieve from your daily stress. Meditation can be an exemplary way to relieve yourself from your stress. Research proves that there can be positive effects of meditation on stress management. Meditation can assist you in redirecting your thoughts and focusing your mind.
People are finding out about the benefits of meditation. Development in concentration and increased awareness of yourself are some of these benefits. It can also have a positive result on your mood and your outlook on life. Meditation can help you develop healthy sleep patterns and set a daily routine. A daily routine helps you in binding yourself to a habit of self-discipline. All of this helps you in managing your stress through meditation.
Here are a few benefits of meditation for managing stress:
1. Controlling the Stress Hormones
The popular reason why people try meditation is its benefits in stress management. Mental and physical stress from the routine increase the stress hormone, Cortisol. An increase in Cortisol can cause severe chemical reactions in our bodies. One such chemical reaction is the release of some inflammatory chemicals called Cytokines.
These inflammatory chemicals can have disruptive effects on our bodies. Some of these effects are:
- Increased Blood Pressure
- Cloudy Thinking
An 8-week study was hosted to determine the effect of meditation on our body's inflammatory response to stress. The inference from this study proved the positive effects of meditation on stress management. Research also shows that there is an improvement in other stress-related conditions. Some of these conditions are Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and Fibromyalgia.
2. Controlling the Anxiety
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Meditation can have positive effects on your anxiety. Nearly 1,300 adults in a meta-analysis had the inference that meditation can lessen anxiety. This effect was highest in the adults with the most anxiety. This further proves how meditation can help manage stress and anxiety.
Another study says that mindful meditation for eight weeks can help with anxiety. This was observed in people with generalized anxiety disorder. Meditation resulted in better coping with stress, positive self-statements, and improved stress reactivity.
A study of 47 people with chronic pain stated that an 8-week meditation program helped in coping with the pain. The program helped with anxiety, depression, and pain when continued for a year.
Some research also suggests that different types of mindfulness and meditation can lower anxiety. Yoga is an excellent example, as it helps with anxiety levels. It helps on the meditative front as well as the physical activity front.
Job-related anxiety is very common these days. Meditation can help in controlling the anxiety that stems from pressure in jobs. A study found that a mindful meditation app for eight weeks can decrease anxiety for employees. It can cause decreased distress, improved feelings, and decreased job strain.
3. Better Emotional Health
Meditation can help escalate your outlook on life and achieve an improved self-image. Symptoms of depression are also improved through mindful meditation.
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On review of 18 studies, it showed that meditation therapies caused a reduction in symptoms of depression. Another study showed reduced negative thoughts after meditation exercises. Meditation also decreases inflammatory chemicals like Cortisol which are responsible for negative moods. Better emotional health results in stress management.
4. Improved Self-Awareness
You can cultivate a stronger understanding of yourself with some forms of meditation. A stronger understanding of yourself can help you grow into your best self. As you grow into your best self, you get more adept at managing your stress.
Self-inquiry meditation aims at helping you develop an understanding of yourself and the people around you.
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Understanding and relating to the people around you can help in managing your stress. Other forms of meditation can help you recognize harmful or self-defeating thoughts. As you understand yourself, you have a greater awareness of your thoughts and habits. Greater awareness can help you in guiding yourself to constructive habits and patterns.
A review of 27 studies says that Tai Chi can be linked with better self-efficacy. Self-efficacy refers to a person's belief in their ability or capacity to overcome challenges in their life.
Another study of 153 adults who used a meditation app for two weeks showed an increase in social contact. It also showed a reduction in feelings of loneliness.
Creative problem-solving skills can also be cultivated through meditation. Better self-awareness is another way how meditation can help manage stress.
5. Stimulates Kindness and Other Positive Feelings
Certain types of meditation can also increase positive actions and feelings toward others. More importantly, it can increase positive feelings towards yourself. Metta is a type of meditation that is also known as loving-kindness meditation. It begins with the development of kind feelings and thoughts towards your own self.
Through practice, people learn to extend this forgiveness and kindness outside. Your circle of kindness grows from yourself to your friends, to your acquaintances, and finally to your enemies.
An analysis of 22 studies on Metta meditation showed similar results. It helps in increasing your compassion and kindness towards yourself and others.
A study of 100 adults showed that the Metta meditation had loving and kind results depending on the dose. This means that more positive feelings could be experienced with more time in this meditation practice.
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Another study of 50 college students showed improved positive feelings and interpersonal interactions. These students practiced this meditation three times per week for four weeks.
The benefits of this type of meditation accumulate over time. The longer you practice, the greater are the effects of loving-kindness meditation. Loving and feeling kindness towards yourself and others is a great way of managing your stress.
The Bottom Line
These were a few benefits of meditation for managing stress. Meditation for stress management can not only reduce your stress, but it can also greatly improve your day-to-day life.