Asian cities are very busy. There is plenty of traffic and noise, as well as sights and smells to stimulate the senses! Sometimes this can be overwhelming and may create a perceived high level of stress. For your own well-being, it’s important to be able to find moments of calm amongst the ‘madness’ so you don’t feel like your body and mind are constantly on ‘high alert’.
Regular meditation is one method you can use to help center yourself and to remain calm. It’s normal for your heart to start racing if you’re trying to cross the road and crazy scooter drivers are pulling out in front of you, making you feel like you’re narrowly missing a serious accident! However it is highly beneficial if you can learn to calm yourself and return to a state of equilibrium once you realize you’re out of danger.
There are a number of scientifically proven benefits of meditation. Let’s take a look at a few of them so you can get ready to take one step closer towards feeling calmer and more centered.
1. It can decrease pain
Those who suffer from chronic pain can often go through many forms of treatment without experiencing any improvement in their symptoms. Meditation can offer a promising treatment option for decreasing pain levels. One study found that, after meditation training, pain intensity ratings and pain unpleasantness ratings were significantly reduced when compared to rest.
2. Decreases depression, anxiety and stress levels
A number of studies have been carried out on the benefits of meditation for psychological problems. Many of these offer positive results and highlight meditation as a promising treatment option. Long term beneficial effects of meditation practice for anxiety disorders have also been observed. These are highlighted in follow up studies like this one.
3. Increases your experience of positive emotions
Over time, regular meditation can help you to experience more positive emotions, an increased purpose in life, and increased life satisfaction. In practical terms, this might help you to feel positive in amongst all the ‘crazy busy’ things that are going on around you.
4. It can make you more compassionate
While you might initially want to think and say all sorts of negative things to the crazy scooter driver who nearly knocked you off your feet, regular meditation can help you experience a situation like this in a different light. Instead of wanting to yell all sorts of profanities at the perpetrator, perhaps you’ll see things from a different perspective and understand that they weren’t trying to knock you over! This happens when you come from a place of self-compassion, and compassion for others.
5. It produces positive changes in your brain
Regular meditation can literally change your brain! This study showed that the brain areas associated with things such as paying attention were thicker in those with extensive meditation experience, as compared to a matched control group. Just think of the practical translation for this. Having a sharper attention focus could literally save your life when that scooter comes out of nowhere by helping you to focus and react quickly.
These are just a few of the many scientifically proven benefits of meditation. There are ways to help you feel calm and centered in the chaos of a big Asian city, and meditation is one of them. Find a meditation center near you to take the next step on this part of your wellness journey.