Meditation is a very powerful way to connect with yourself again in the fast-moving modern world. Not only does it make you much calmer, but it also teaches you to take a step back and see a bigger picture of the situation you find yourself in. There are many different ways one can practice meditation, and it does not have to be really connected with any spiritual practices whatsoever. It can simply be your way of dealing with stress. And it is a very effective way.
Meditation is both a practice and an experience people use to achieve mental clarity and calm state of mind. It is sometimes hard to define it since there are many traditions and different types of meditation that use various techniques to achieve these goals.
Most often, meditation is connected with mindfulness, although it is not the same thing. We can reach mindfulness through meditation, for example. Mindfulness is basically our ability to be fully present at the moment, aware of what we’re experiencing, feeling, seeing, and not just impulsively rushing all the time, not knowing what’s happening around us.
Meditation is not stopping thoughts from coming. It’s about being present in a specific moment and seeing thoughts more clearly. When you are more present, you’re often also more relaxed and not overwhelmed with future events or past ones. So relaxation comes as a side effect of practicing mindfulness meditation.
When we are under stress, this causes an increase in the levels of the stress hormone, called cortisol. This increase in cortisol can have many harmful effects on our sleep, mood (such as increased anxiety), blood pressure, and overall psychological well-being. Mindfulness meditation, practiced for 8 weeks showed promising effects in reducing inflammation response caused by stress in our body.
There are many studies done on how mindfulness meditation affects the brain. Few studies found that meditation can change the structure of the brain - it affects the hippocampus, important for memory and learning, and amygdala, which is responsible for feelings of fear, anxiety, and experiencing stress. Participants reported decreased stress levels and improved overall mood after practicing mindfulness-based stress reduction meditation for 8 weeks. 
Practicing meditation makes you feel better emotionally, but it also benefits our overall health - from lower blood pressure to controlling pain.
Other benefits of regular meditation are:
Another type of meditation, called self-inquiry meditation, helps with knowing yourself better. One benefit of understanding yourself better is that you can start to incorporate positive changes into your life much quicker and better.
With meditation, you also build up kindness, which not only pertains to others but also pertains to yourself. That means that you become aware of your bad habits, but you also notice what you’re great at and are happy with it.
Different types of meditation can help you combat insomnia and other sleep issues/disorders. Since meditation relaxes you and makes you calmer, it can also help you control your thoughts so you can fall asleep faster and sleep better.
One of the most short-term effects of meditation is increasing the endurance of your attention. To lengthen your attention span, you can check out focused-attention meditation.
Blood pressure decreases during meditation sessions, and it also reduces in the long term when practicing meditation regularly.
You probably heard about the connection between your mind and feeling pain. When stressed out, your perception of pain can intensify.
Research shows increased activity in the brain centers known to control pain in those who practiced meditation regularly. Moreover, they are also less sensitive to pain in general.
It certainly is true that incorporating one stress-relieving strategy in your ever-day life is better than practicing none.
However, meditation, compared to other strategies, has some additional pros and also some “cons.”
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Maja Andoljsek, BSc in Sports Science and Nutrition, has been researching nutrition, supplements, and coaching people for years. As a certified coach and nutritionist, she has helped hundreds of people improve their cognitive performance, physical performance, and overall health.