A practice inspired by Buddhism, the meditation offers many benefits on our health. What are they and how do you get started?

What is meditation ?

The word meditation comes to us from the word “melete” of Greek origin, which means exercise or training. We can define meditation as a spiritual practice which aims to train the mind to living in the moment, without thinking of the past or the future. Very old, this practice comes to us from the East and is very present in Buddhism. By practicing on a regular basis, meditation offers many benefits to practitioners.

In an increasingly stressful environment both at work and family, it allows you to take a break out of time and worries of everyday life. Without thinking about the problems we encounter or parasitic thoughts, meditation offers us a moment of introspection, letting go and contemplation, listening to your emotions and the sounds around you.



What are the health benefits of meditation?

health benefits of meditation

Stress reduction

Several scientific studies have demonstrated in recent years the benefits of meditation on reduced stress level many participants. The so-called mindfulness meditation seems to be particularly effective in reducing anxiety levels and the risk of depression, as demonstrated in a Belgian study in 400 people aged 13 to 20 [1]

By training the mind to empty, we are indeed less inclined to rehash our negative thoughts. By practicing regularly, meditation changes the way we see things, accept what is happening to us and let go of our daily concerns.

Increased memory and attention

By developing our capacity for concentration and attention when we practice, meditation would limit the effects of aging on our brain and maintain our cognitive abilities. This theory was notably verified by researchers from Harvard University, who conducted a study on twenty people who had followed a mindfulness meditation program for 2 months.

By developing our listening and attention skills, meditation is particularly recommended for people prone to nervousness, hyperactivity or impulsivity. It helps to slow down the pace and focus on the essentials.

Reduction of cardiovascular disease

meditation and health

By helping us to relax and deeply relax during meditation sessions, it has been proven by an Indian study that this would help reduce our heart rate and lower our blood pressure.

These benefits would ultimately help reduce by almost 50% the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks or strokes, according to a study carried out in 2012 on 200 people at risk [2]

Pain reduction

Meditation has so many positive effects on practitioners' health that it is now recommended in many hospitals (around 700 worldwide) for its benefits in reducing pain. It is even now supported by Social Security in England!

How to practice meditation?

Start practicing meditation

Meditation is accessible to everyone, whatever his physical condition and at any age. It can be practiced anywhere, in a calm place and without distractions. More than the duration of the session, it is the regularity that will bring the most benefits on the health and the mood of the practitioners!

During meditation session (guided or not), the person focuses his attention on his breathing, on the surrounding sounds or performs a body scan, focusing his attention successively on the different parts of the body. It can be practiced in the morning or in the evening, or during the day for a few minutes to refocus and regain energy. There are many applications for meditation, such as Little Bamboo, Headspace or even Mind. There are also many sessions available on Youtube!

At first, the mind will tend to disperse, which is normal at the start of practice. In this case, bring your attention back to your breathing, without guilt. Typically, a hard meditation session between 15 and 20 minutes.

References :

[1] School-Based Prevention and Reduction of Depression in Adolescents: a Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial of a Mindfulness Group Program - Filip Raes, James W. Griffith, Katleen Van der Gucht J. Mark G. Williams, 06/03/2013

[2] Stress Reduction in the Secondary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease
Randomized, Controlled Trial of Transcendental Meditation and Health Education in Blacks - Robert H. Schneider, Clarence E. Grim, Maxwell V. Rainforth, Theodore Kotchen, Sanford I. Nidich, Carolyn Gaylord-King, John W. Salerno, Jane Morley Kotchen, and Charles N. Alexander - 01/11/2012

Tang YY, Hölzel BK, Posner MI. The neuroscience of mindfulness meditation. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2015; 16 (4): 213-225.

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