I started meditating back in 2012, when things were starting to come back after a very difficult time in my life. I had no idea what the advantages and disadvantages of meditation were at the time, I just knew it made me feel better.
Now that I understand it a little bit more about it, it’s driven a desire to understand what the advantages and disadvantages of meditation can be and what it is it can do for me.
The advantages of meditation come to me very easily, considering my personal relationship with it and, after researching, find simply amazing. The following list highlights just a few of the positive effects meditation can have. many of these are advantages I have come across when looking into benefits of meditation and what it can do to for its practitioner.
Advantages of meditation:
- Meditation promotes brain growth. The brain can literally grow! Penn State did a study that looked at the brains of subjects that had meditated for over 20 years who displayed greater gyrification of the cortex (more folds and valleys on its surface).
- Meditation can increase concentration and focus. Last year, a study was conducted by the University of Washington that showed improved concentration using stressful tasks. Meditation had a direct effect on the behavior of the subjects in how they completed their task. After meditating, they switched tasks less often
- Meditation reduces stress. During that same study, they also asked the participants to self evaluate the stress levels they were experiencing and the results directly correlated to the practitioners feeling less stress from meditation.
- Meditation also proved to improve memory, again through the same study. The meditation group had better recollection of the tasks they performed during their stress test.
- Other studies have suggested meditation can lower blood pressure, treat pain and assist in addiction therapy.
As with anything worthwhile, there is a need to look at both sides of the story and see what it is that could be a disadvantage for meditation. Sort of weighing the overwhelming good and the bad.
Disadvantages of meditation:
- Takes a lot of practice. Not everyone can one day, all of a sudden be able to turn their brain off.
- Some may get frustrated and feel they’re not getting what they expected out of it soon enough and give up.
- Not recommended for mentally unbalanced/psychosis. When one takes on the practice of meditation, they’re spending a lot of time in their head, so you can see the concerns here.
- Not effective for treating deep depression. It has been effectively used to treat mild depression, but not recommended for deep depression.
Not bad for an activity you can do for free and still benefit in so many different ways. To me, the advantages and disadvantages of meditation are very clear, making meditation a very beneficial practice.
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