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The practice of meditating has been used in Eastern cultures for thousands of years. The habit involves training the mind in order to focus and redirect thought processes. Over the years, various studies found that meditation offer practitioners a variety of health benefits.

Alleviates Stress

Studies performed on thousands of adults revealed that meditating on a regular basis has the potential to alleviate anxiety, depression, and stress. When an individual becomes stressed, the body produces and releases increased levels of cortisol. Over time, the hormone has negative effects on the body that include sleep disturbances, increased blood pressure, inflammation and confusion. By entering a mindful state of meditation, the body relaxes, cortisol levels normalize, and negative emotional issues dissipate.

Improves Attention Span

Training the brain to meditate and continuing the practice regularly has been shown to improve the attention span. People who meditate can focus and pay attention for longer lengths of time compared to people who do not meditate. When tested, meditation practitioners also had enhanced memory recall. Meditation has also been proven to improve the cognitive ability in older adults.

Encourages Kindness

A form of meditation known as Metta promotes kindness for the individual and others. The process involves having positive thoughts about oneself. The forgiveness and kindness expressed toward self are then passed onto other individuals. Studies of the concept also revealed that regularly practicing Metta meditation is effective in learning anger management, reducing social anxiety and marital conflicts.

Overcome Addictions

People who are able to train their brain to meditate on a regular basis also learn self-control and have a heightened awareness of the triggers that lead them back to addictive behaviors. Through meditation, individuals redirect their thought processes and are better able to control their cravings, emotions and impulse behaviors. Studies also indicate that meditating has the potential to help people reduce the negative emotions that lead to binge eating.

Promotes Sleep

Studies of individuals who practiced mindfulness meditation revealed that the volunteers had less difficulty falling asleep and remained asleep longer than the study participants who did not meditate. Often times, people have problems falling asleep because they cannot shut down their thought processes. By learning to clear your mind and relax, tension leaves the body and the mind enters a peaceful state that encourages sleep.