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Effects of Meditation

Effects of meditation come in many different forms from the psychological effects of meditation to the physiological effects of meditation. Although there have been many different studies into the effects of meditation it has only been recently that the professionals in the field of science medicine have started to take notice of the positive effects of meditation and to, in some cases, prescribe the use of meditation to patients.

The various effects of meditation are quite extensive in range. Meditation has long been thought to have beneficial spiritual consequences, but recently, science has also backed up claims of physical benefits that are worth the consideration of anyone hoping to begin meditative study. Showing that more and more positive effects of meditation are being found and substantiated as meditation becomes more mainstream. Deliberation and meditative practice have been proven to allow people to change the way their minds work and to obtain different levels of consciousness.

While the states that are achieved in contemplation have traditionally been understood from a religious or metaphysical perspective, this research tracks the actual changes in the brain. Researchers from the University of Wisconsin have been working in conjunction with Tibetan monks to show that these transcendent experiences, caused by reflection and rumination, cause intense activity in the prefrontal cortex of the brain.

This means that longtime practitioners of meditation show increased energy in that area, which is not present in beginners. This means that it is possible to train the brain through routine practice of meditation, to truly reach different emotional and mental states. Scientists used to believe that the brain did not change in structure at all after birth, but these studies show that this is not the case.

The area of the brain that feels the greatest effects of meditation is one that's associated with happiness and positive feelings. This ties in well with other research and centuries of anecdotal evidence that say meditation helps relax us, release pent up stress, and makes us feel more at peace. 

Other physical evidence suggests that meditation can help people with heart problems or blood pressure, increasing their exercise tolerance and improving general heart health. Exercising the mind deliberately this way is also thought to help elderly people who are beginning to lose their mental facility. Other definite effects of meditation are a reduction in heart rate, respiration and other signs of stress through routine meditative practice.

Some experts have noted that the chemical reduced by routine meditation, Cortisol, is related both to certain kinds of stress, and to over eating. A high level of this hormone will cause people to store extra fat on the abdomen, and causes them to crave fattening foods. Therefore, meditation may also be able to reduce your weight, if you suffer from stress-related over eating.

All of this is good news, given the pace of the modern world. We are constantly being assaulted by stresses and worries as we are asked to move faster and produce more. Meditative study on a regular basis can help us to learn to face the world more calmly. The stress reducing effects of meditation aren't just seen while the practitioner is meditating – they last even once the session is done.

By Phil Pemberton

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