As life becomes stressful and hectic, people have become prone to inflammation, metabolic disorders, mental health issues, and even cancers. To live longer, it is vital to live a simple and healthy life. It might be a good idea to practice meditation and consider the Zen lifestyle—a lifestyle of simplicity and mindfulness, with a deep appreciation for simplicity.
Meditation or mindfulness is about focusing on the moment, getting rid of too many thoughts and stress, and living a simple and healthy life. If practiced for long, it may result in significant benefits for mental and physical health.
There has been a long tradition of practicing meditation in the East. However, now West is also realizing the benefits of meditation. People are increasingly exploring the Zen lifestyle through seated meditation, avoiding overindulgence in anything, preferring simplicity, and appreciating simple things in life.
Health Benefits of Meditation
Meditation helps you gain control over your mind and body. Though it is quite good for the mind, but if practiced for long, it may also result in many benefits for physical health. After all, mind and body are interconnected.
Manages Stress, Anxiety, and Depression
Though it is very difficult to estimate the prevalence of stress, it is clear that most people these days are living with it. Various studies suggest that 30-60% of the population is living with severe stress at any given time1.
Unmanaged stress causes hormonal changes, anxiety, and depression. Stress is about feeling overwhelmed, anxiety is a continuous fear of unknown or perceived threats, and depression is about losing interest in various activities. These issues, though different, often coexist in people. Those living with these issues often report low energy levels, poor sleep, chronic pain, and falling physical health.
Of course, there are many ways to manage stress. Even medications may help boost mood. However, they have many ill effects. Managing stress and emotional disorders through medications is never an option, as it would cause more harm than good in the long run.
The best way to manage these issues is through physical and nutrition therapy. Adding meditation to the efforts to counter stress may help significantly. Over the long run, meditation may make people more resilient to stress and even help alter thinking patterns. Studies confirm that meditation helps manage stress, anxiety, and depression2.
Enhances Immune Health
A stressed body is a weak and inflamed body, which ultimately reduces the body’s resistance to fight diseases. Meditation is one of the effective ways to boost mood and immunity. Some new clinical studies confirm that meditation can increase white cell count, improve immune response, lower the risk of various health issues, and even slow aging3.
Lowers Blood Pressure
The relationship between high stress levels and hypertension is well known. It means that countering mental stress would also help lower blood pressure. There is some sound evidence from clinical studies that meditation may help lower stress hormones, heart rate, and sympathetic activity. Thus, even 10-20 minutes of meditation a day may have quite a significant impact on blood pressure4.
Improves Sleep Quality
Sleep is one of the simplest ways to sound health, yet so many people are deprived of this essential activity. Poor sleep quality and inadequate sleep result in higher cortisol levels, disrupted circadian rhythm, changes in the autonomic nervous system, mental health, inflammation, and more. Meditation is one of the best ways to train your mind to sleep better. It is one of the best natural sleep aids.
Meditation is not just an activity; it is a lifestyle. Thus, for example, one can even engage in Zen philosophy. Over the long run, it can completely transform the individual, resulting in increased self-awareness and the ability to appreciate the moment and simple things in life. It helps unleash the inner abilities and achieve true joy in life.
The primary function of meditation is to help people gain better control over mood and emotions. It is about focusing on the moment, getting rid of needless thoughts, and enjoying the calmness. However, achieving such a state of mind requires some practice. Regularly meditating may help regulate thoughts and emotions, helping manage stress and distress.
The Bottom Line
These days, many people are living with chronic ailments and mental health issues. These conditions are challenging to manage through medications. Most of these health issues are a result of faulty lifestyle choices. Fortunately, non-pharmacological approaches work best for preventing and managing such health issues. Thus, a combination of exercise, nutrition therapy, meditation/mindfulness, and health supplements are the right way to prevent and manage these health issues.
- Salari N, Hosseinian-Far A, Jalali R, et al. Prevalence of stress, anxiety, depression among the general population during the COVID-19 pandemic: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Glob Health. 2020;16(1):57. doi:10.1186/s12992-020-00589-w
- Aksu Ç, Ayar D. The effects of visualization meditation on the depression, anxiety, stress and achievement motivation levels of nursing students. Nurse Educ Today. 2023;120:105618. doi:10.1016/j.nedt.2022.105618
- Black DS, Slavich GM. Mindfulness meditation and the immune system: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2016;1373(1):13-24. doi:10.1111/nyas.12998
- Goldstein CM, Josephson R, Xie S, Hughes JW. Current Perspectives on the Use of Meditation to Reduce Blood Pressure. Int J Hypertens. 2012;2012:578397. doi:10.1155/2012/578397