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What health benefits can meditation bring?
Healthy living is about not only practicing good eating habits and undertaking regular exercise, but also about combating unwanted day-to-day problems.
This includes stress, depression and moods such as anger, all of which can occur sporadically, yet still require attention.
One way to help reduce the impacts these mental problems could be having on your health and wellbeing is to undertake meditation.
Why is meditation beneficial?
Meditation has been found to help regulate behaviour and reduce a range of mental problems, according to a new study from China's Dalian University of Technology.
Regular meditation training was shown to provide positive improvements in existing conditions, while also reducing the likelihood of developing others.
What problems can it help with?
Scientists found that mental conditions such as attention deficit disorder, stress, dementia, depression and schizophrenia were all reduced after undergoing meditation for only a month.
This could significantly improve mental health and wellbeing both in the short and long-term.
Participants in the study also reported improvements in their mood, as well as reduced feelings of anger, depression and fatigue.
What's the science behind it?
Scientists found that nerve fibres, known as white matter, became denser, providing a larger number of brain-signalling connections after 11 hours of meditation.
As well as physical changes, there was an expansion of myelin, the protective fatty insulation surrounding nerve fibres, ultimately helping to regulate behaviour.
How to meditate?
Meditation is an ancient practice in which practitioners train their minds to reach a calm state of consciousness and relaxation, as people focus on their breathing rather than the stresses and strains of everyday life.
Many beginners find it easier to use the guidance of an instructor, CD or peaceful music to help train themselves to reach this state.
Posted by Freya Harper