Beyond Spirituality: the Role of Meditation in Mental Health

Insights & More

By Jonathan Krygier and Andrew Kemp,
The University of Sydney

Meditation has traditionally been associated with Eastern mysticism but science is beginning to show that cultivating a “heightened” state of consciousness can have a major impact on our brain, the way our bodies function and our levels of resilience.

Clinicians are increasingly looking for effective, preventative, non-pharmacological options to treat mental illness. And meditation techniques – such as quietening the mind, understanding the self and exercising control – show promise as an alternative tool to regulate emotions, mood and stress.

Body

Meditation influences the body in unexpected ways. Experienced meditators, for instance, can speed or slow their metabolism by more than 60% and raise their body temperature by as much as 8°C.

Even a little training in meditation can make people calmer, less stressed and more relaxed. As little as 20 minutes a day leads to physical changes, such as…

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