Meditation, if you haven’t tried it before, is probably one of the most valuable tools that every single person on this planet should have as part of their daily life. The scientific community has only recently started scratching the surface of the possibilities and benefits that meditation can add to our lives. The question we’re looking at today, though, is: Does meditation make you stronger?
Meditation can not directly increase physical strength but can aid in many of the mental aspects that can lead to physical strength. Meditation can definitely make you mentally and emotionally stronger while reducing stress and managing your behavior and emotions better.
So let’s dive right into these different aspects of meditation and see how it can help you get physically stronger, mentally stronger, and emotionally stronger, and what effects all of these things can have on your life.
Can Meditation make you physically stronger?
We’ve already established that meditation cannot directly cause you to get physically stronger. It’s not like you meditate for 20 min, and after a session, your muscle mass increases or something. However, meditation can be an extremely powerful tool in aiding some physiological aspects, but mostly all of the mental aspects, that can contribute to you being able and highly motivated to train more disciplined, harder, longer, faster, and more efficiently and effectively.
Many studies where meditators and non-meditators were compared have shown how brain function among meditators is more active, more connected, and in some cases, even bigger than with non-meditators. This is a significant discovery related to physical strength, as this mental strength that is developed through meditation can have dramatic effects on your mental power and endurance when doing physical challenges that can make you stronger.
Focus and Attention Span
Meditation also helps with focus and attention span, which can help you focus more on the physical exercises you are doing and making the most out of your sessions. Although this is slightly more indirect than our first point, it nonetheless adds to the mix of mental aids that help you get physically stronger.
Meditation teaches you better breath control. Better breathing leads to more oxygen being delivered to your muscles, which helps you go longer, harder, prevent muscle fatigue, and helps your strength-training sessions become more effective and efficient and last longer.
Many studies have shown how, through activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, meditation can help reduce stress and lower cortisol levels in your system. This is vital for keeping your body’s function and performance at optimal levels during your training sessions but can also have dramatic effects on your recovery, which is equally important when training to get stronger.
Meditation can also help you control your pain tolerance as it is perceived and processed by your brain. As crazy as this sounds, there have been many studies done on this that have shown some amazing results, which is great for endurance and sheer willpower when training to get stronger.
Finally, on meditation and physical strength, the only way you will get stronger is by training regularly and staying committed. Meditation is great for helping you become more focused and disciplined in your life, which will make it easier for you to stay committed and disciplined in your training routine.
Can Meditation make you mentally stronger?
Meditation can help improve your mental conditioning and enhance your overall mental wellbeing by making you mentally stronger.
So much of our mental strength depends on our ability to handle and process stress and manage our emotions.
Studies have shown that people who meditate have bigger brains with more activity and greater volume in 2 key areas in particular, both of which are related to managing our emotions. One of the areas, the hippocampus, also plays a big role in our attention, and meditation has been shown to, quite astonishingly, be able to stimulate the growth of new neurons, even into adulthood.
Focus and Concentration
There’s no better mental strength test than to dedicate yourself to a task that requires commitment, focus, concentration, and sheer perseverance.
Meditation is great at canceling out the noise and focuses our attention on whatever the task at hand is. This is an absolutely invaluable skill in this world of distractions and fast-moving, ever-changing, constant information overload.
There’s nothing that can describe the amazing level of calm and peace when you sit down to meditate, and all the noise and constant chatter in your mind simply quiets down until there’s nothing left but silence. Calm. Peaceful. Absolute bliss.
As mentioned earlier, Meditation has also been shown to effectively help reduce our cortisol levels through activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, which leads to a reduction in stress and better control over our behavior and emotions.
Can Meditation make you emotionally stronger?
Meditation has the power to make us much stronger on a mental level, which can have dramatic impacts on our daily lives and how we deal with stress, manage our emotions, and improve the overall quality of our lives.
As previously mentioned, many studies have shown what impact meditation can have on 2 key areas of the brain that have to do with managing our emotions.
So meditation can help to improve your emotional stability and make you more emotionally balanced and stronger. Being able to control your behavior and emotions better can have a snowball effect on so many other aspects of your life and the people around you.
Can Meditation help heal the body?
This is definitely a topic that can be covered by many books if we had to really dive deep into it, but yes, hundreds of studies have shown how meditation can help to heal many conditions like depression, anxiety, chronic pain and help to improve heart health, mood, the immune system, and overall wellbeing.
A lot of physical conditions that the body might be experiencing at times can be attributed to mental conditions like stress, depression, and anxiety, and by treating these underlying conditions, we can heal a lot of our physical bodies as well.
Types of Meditation
There are so many different types of meditation that it’s difficult to track all of them. At the end of the day, choosing the best type of meditation for you is a personal preference, the journey you are on, maybe trying a few different ones or practicing more than 1 at the same time.
Let’s take a look at the 3 main categories of the different types of meditation:
Concentration or Focus
Just as the words concentration and focus suggest, these types of meditation involve intense focus or concentration on a single object or breathing, where you actively try to clear the mind.
These types of meditation are not easy and require many years of dedicated practice.
Some of the meditations that fall under this category include Zen, Tibetan Buddhism, Vipassana, Qigong, Vedanta, etc.
Open monitoring types of meditation usually focus on breathing while allowing the mind to wander free. The practitioner simply monitors or observes the workings of the mind, without judgment or reaction, but paying close attention to it.
These types of meditation are not as hard as focus or concentration types of meditation but still require a lot of practice and include meditation practices like Mindfulness, Kriya Yoga, etc.
Self-transcending types of meditation use a mantra to guide the mind into a process of self-transcendence, where it transcends the meditation itself.
These types of meditation are fairly easy as they require minimal effort in terms of focus or concentration and include meditation techniques like Transcendental Meditation (TM).
This is my preferred meditation technique, and I have been practicing TM, on and off, for more than 2 years now. It has become a very valuable part of my life.
Benefits of Meditation
There are probably thousands of books out there, digging deep into all of the benefits of meditation. Most of these benefits are being discovered and confirmed by the consensus of the scientific community today. With too many to go into, we will just highlight some to give you an idea of the possibilities of meditation.
Here are a few of the benefits of meditation:
- Stress reduction
- Improves overall heart health
- Improves emotional health and wellbeing
- Helps with concentration and focus
- Increases attention span
- Enhances self-awareness
- Improves sleep
- Helps with addictions
- Decreases blood pressure
- Helps manage anxiety and depression
- Helps to control pain
- Improves discipline
- Enhances kindness
- Enhances creativity, energy, and awareness
- Helps with autism and ADHD
We haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of what is possible with meditation. As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, meditation is something that every person should have as a tool in their life.
Although meditation cannot make you physically stronger, it can indirectly help with all of the surrounding physiological and mental aspects that can help you get physically stronger more efficiently and effectively.
Meditation can also make you stronger mentally and emotionally, reduce stress, and control your behavior and emotions, increasing your general health and wellbeing.