The Benefits of Meditation

Several scientific studies have been conducted to demonstrate the numerous health benefits of meditation. Various meditation techniques have been examined, each with distinct effects on different aspects: morphophysiological (such as the impact on brain structure), mental (including memory improvement), and behavioral (such as enhanced sociability). 

Beneath, we provide an overview of the benefits observed across different meditation techniques, as documented in numerous scientific online journals.

Thus, meditation:

1. Increases positive emotions and improves mood
2. Strengthens the immune system
3. Reduces the sensation of pain
4. Reduces inflammations in the body
5. It makes us more sociable
6. Improves concentration
7. Improves memory
8. Increases the sense of compassion
9. Increases empathy
10. It makes us more flexible during the difficult periods
11. Reduces stress
12. Reduces depression
13. Lowers blood pressure
14. Increases our perceptive ability
15. Regarding the structure of the brain:
– increases the thickness of the cerebral cortex, mainly in the areas related to attention and introspection,
– increases gray matter in areas related to memory (hippocampus) and thinking (frontal lobe),
– increases brain volume in areas related to emotion management, positive emotions, and self-control,
– reduces the size of the amygdala, which is composed of small groups of neurons responsible for fear and anxiety reactions.

Through meditation, what may initially sound theoretical becomes clear. When you observe how the mind works -how thoughts arise and fade away- you transcend identification with the mind and become its observer. Being the observer means that you are not affected by the thoughts and do not become entangled in their chain-like development (one thought leads to another, and so on).

The benefit of this process is that the body does not react to the thoughts generated by the mind as when you are identified with it. By disidentifying from the mind, you can avoid unconscious, automatic, and exaggerated emotional reactions and the somatizations they often cause. In this way, emotional stability can be achieved. That is why 
several mental health experts recommend meditation as a valuable tool in dealing with anxiety and depression.

Nikos Batras