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12 Health Benefits of Meditation

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By Dr. Matthew Thorpe

The popularity of meditation is increasing as more people discover its benefits.

Meditation is a habitual process of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts.


You can use it to increase awareness of yourself and your surroundings. Many people think of it as a way to reduce stress and develop concentration.

People also use the practice to develop other beneficial habits and feelings, such as a positive mood and outlook, self-discipline, healthy sleep patterns and even increased pain tolerance.

This article reviews 12 health benefits of meditation.

2. Controls Anxiety

Less stress translates to less anxiety.

For example, an eight-week study of mindfulness meditation helped participants reduce their anxiety.

It also reduced symptoms of anxiety disorders, such as phobias, social anxiety, paranoid thoughts, obsessive-compulsive behaviors and panic attacks (9).

Another study followed up with 18 volunteers three years after they had completed an eight-week meditation program. Most volunteers had continued practicing regular meditation and maintained lower anxiety levels over the long term (10).

A larger study in 2,466 participants also showed that a variety of different meditation strategies may reduce anxiety levels (11).

For example, yoga has been shown to help people reduce anxiety. This is likely due to benefits from both meditative practice and physical activity (12).

Meditation may also help control job-related anxiety in high-pressure work environments. One study found that a meditation program reduced anxiety in a group of nurses (13).

Summary: Habitual meditation helps reduce anxiety and anxiety-related mental health issues like social anxiety, phobias and obsessive-compulsive behaviors.

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