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Exploring Meditation’s Impact on Mental Health

BY: Neighbors’ Consejo|

As society grapples with an ever-increasing burden of stress, anxiety, and mental health challenges, the quest for effective, accessible remedies has never been more critical. Enter meditation: a practice as old as humankind itself, yet strikingly relevant in today’s digital age. This article embarks on a scientific journey to demystify the practice of meditation, shedding light on its benefits and its potential to enhance quality of life.

According to Hari Sharma in “Meditation: Process and effects”, “meditation has become popular in many Western nations, especially the USA. The practice of meditation originated in the ancient Vedic times of India and is described in the ancient Vedic text. Meditation is one of the modalities used in Ayurveda (Science of Life), the comprehensive, natural healthcare system that originated in the ancient Vedic times of India.”

What is meditation about? “Meditation is a technique used for thousands of years to develop awareness of the present moment. It can involve practices to sharpen focus and attention, connect to the body and breath, develop acceptance of difficult emotions, and even alter consciousness. It’s been shown to offer several physical and psychological benefits.” The same source identified nine popular types of meditation practice:

  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Spiritual meditation
  • Focused meditation
  • Movement meditation
  • Mantra meditation
  • Transcendental meditation
  • Progressive relaxation
  • Loving-kindness meditation
  • Visualization meditation

What happens to your brain when you meditate? UW Medicine affirms “your brain develops through neural connections. Neurons, the information processing cells in your brain, connect to make neural pathways, which are responsible for your thoughts, sensations, feelings, and actions. When you repeatedly do an activity, you strengthen the neural connections involved, which develops the associated regions of your brain.”

Additionally, The Harvard Gazette, considers, “studies have shown benefits against an array of conditions both physical and mental, including irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, psoriasis, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. But some of those findings have been called into question because studies had small sample sizes of problematic experimental designs. Still, there are a handful of key areas -including depression, chronic pain, and anxiety- in which well-designed, well-run studies have shown benefits for patients engaging in a mindfulness meditation program, with effects like other existing treatments.”

On the other hand, Mayo Clinic, affirms that the emotional and physical benefits of meditation can include:

  • Giving you a new way to look at the things that cause stress
  • Building skills to manage your stress
  • Making you more self-aware
  • Focusing on the present
  • Reducing negative feelings
  • Helping you be more creative
  • Helping you be more patient
  • Lowering resting heart rate
  • Lowering resting blood pressure
  • Helping you sleep better

How to meditate? According to minful.org just follow these steps:

  1. Take a seat
  2. Set a time limit
  3. Notice your body
  4. Feel your breath
  5. Notice when your mind has wandered
  6. Be kind to your wandering mind
  7. Close with kindness

In conclusion, these findings not only validate ancient wisdom with modern science but also highlight meditation as a valuable and accessible tool for addressing contemporary health challenges. As society continues to grapple with increasing levels of stress and mental health issues, the importance of integrating meditation into daily life and health care practices becomes ever more evident.


“Meditation Definition & Meaning.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/meditation. Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

Sharma, Hari. “Meditation: Process and Effects.” Ayu, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4895748/#:~:text=The%20practice%20of%20meditation%20originated,ancient%20Vedic%20times%20of%20India.

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