Back in the day, people talked about meditation like it was something only yoga masters or Buddhist monks did. But times have changed, and everyone from dog walkers to high-powered attorneys seem to be talking “mindfulness.”
The Science Behind Meditation
If you’ve been skeptical about starting a meditation practice for fear that it’s all a bunch of nonsense, it may surprise you to learn that there have been countless scientific studies that prove its effectiveness. Everything from your mood to your risk for disease can be affected by meditation.
1. Structural Changes to Your Brain
Science has proven that mindfulness meditation can cause structural changes to your brain. Those structural changes can also lead to changes in the way your brain functions. To understand more about how meditation impacts your brain, read this article from Psychology Today.
2. Improved Immune Function
Want to get fewer colds and bugs? 20 to 30 minutes of meditation a few times a week could do the trick.
3. Decreased Pain and Inflammation
It’s not all just mind over matter. While meditation certainly helps you learn to choose where to place your focus, it also makes changes to your brain that help it better manage stress. Stress is a well-known trigger for chronic inflammation, and inflammation is one of the biggest causes of disease. Less stress means less inflammation, which in turn means lower risk of disease.
4. Reduced Depression, Anxiety and Stress
If you struggle with depression or anxiety, or have a lot of stress in your life, getting your Zen on can help significantly. This article in Psychology Today talks about how meditation can complement or replace medication for depression and anxiety.
5. Improved Mood and Self Control
What does everyone want in life? To be happy. So, this perk alone should be enough to make you want to start meditating today. People who meditate regularly are more likely to have a positive mindset and more control over their emotions.
6. Increased Focus, Attention and Memory
It might surprise you to learn that taking a few minutes to “do nothing” may actually help you get more done! Meditation can help clear your mind of all the “junk” so that you can focus better.
7. Enhanced Creativity
Have a problem you just can’t solve? Take a few minutes to clear your mind, and you might be surprised what you come up with.
8. Improved Connection with Others
Studies have shown that meditation can help you develop more empathy and compassion. It can also help you feel less lonely and more connected with the people around you.
9. Help in Overcoming Addiction
Whether it’s alcohol, drugs or food, meditation can be a powerful tool for overcoming your addiction.
10. Improved Sleep
If you’re battling insomnia or just not getting a restful night’s sleep, give meditation a try. It can be especially helpful as part of your bedtime ritual.
Ready to get meditating? Check out our guide to starting a meditation practice.