These days, many people are finding that the benefits of meditation extend beyond personal satisfaction and spiritual balance. In fact, incorporating a practice of quieting your mind and redirecting your thoughts is beneficial for greater health as well. As a result of the growing number of studies proving the dramatic positive connection between meditation and mental health, large corporations, which include health insurance companies like Aetna, have created programs to incorporate mindful practices into their schedules for the betterment of their employees.
Long term, it seems logical that health insurers will begin to see this correlation between health and mindfulness, and the best health insurance plans will include benefit coverage for meditation and mindfulness practice programs as preventative care. Research continues to show how this practice can cut down on medical conditions and the millions it costs insurance companies and their insured in the form of monthly premiums, frequent copay amounts, and prescription costs to treat chronic conditions.
Here are seven ways meditation can benefit your health.
1. Reduces Stress
Busy schedules and fast-paved living has resulted in a stressful society. With more stress comes a great many health problems that include poor quality of sleep, depression and anxiety, increased blood pressure as well as fatigue and cloudy thinking. Even more encouraging is that research has shown meditation may also improve symptoms of stress-related conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, and fibromyalgia.
2. Promotes Emotional Health
Habitual meditation helps reduce anxiety and anxiety-related mental health issues like social anxiety, phobias, and obsessive-compulsive behaviors, leading to an improved self-image and more positive outlook on life. The practice of thinking deeply or focusing one’s mind for a period of time assists in handling negative feelings and emotions, providing self generating mental health care, resulting in a feeling of relaxation and inner peace.
3. Strengthens immune system
According to The Chopra Center, ”meditation creates a positive mental environment for the immune system to flourish“ and allows for a reduction in inflammation. The culprit to most disease is chronic inflammation leading to health problems across the board including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease. Studies show that mindfulness has a positive impact on reducing inflammation.
4. May Reduce Age-Related Memory Loss
Keeping one’s mind young is just as vital as holding on to those good looks! Meditation appears to hold the key to guarding against normal age-related memory loss. In fact, regular meditation is also responsible for more focused thinking, remembering of details, and a reduction in mind wandering. Most exciting, meditation can at least partially improve memory in patients with dementia, help control stress, and improve coping in those caring for family members with dementia.
5. Improves Sleep
Stress and worry is a primary cause of sleep issues and meditating can calm the mind for greater relaxation. It may also assist in other ways that promote restful sleep by increasing melatonin (the sleep hormone), reducing heart rates, decreasing blood pressure, and activating parts of the brain that control sleep.
6. Enhances Self-Awareness
Self-awareness is an important component to knowing what your body, mind, and spirit needs in order to live a fulfilling life. Meditation enables you to stop thinking and doing, and instead to be in touch with the inner self for achieving happiness, which leads to greater mental and physical health.
7. May Help Fight Addictions
For those suffering from addiction, a large part of the recovery process is understanding what drives the need to be co-dependent and with the help of meditation practice many individuals more clearly see their internal struggles and drives, achieving the awareness necessary to make conscious choices to let go of the source of their addiction. Some of the best health insurance plans today include addiction therapy and going forward it seems likely that mindfulness practice will become part of these treatments.