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15 Reasons to Meditate backed by Science

In the fast-paced world that we live in today, meditation can help to slow everything down, and create a pause in life where you can turn your attention inward to see how the world is affecting us. We spend most of our waking lives with our attention turned outward so we can experience the world around us. When we turn our attention inward we become aware of how the external world has been affecting our internal world. If you are new to meditation or if you are skeptical of the benefits of meditation, you might want a little proof that this practice is worth taking the time and effort to learn. Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years and now modern science is starting to uncover just how great meditation is at reducing stress and anxiety, improving emotional intelligence and even reduce pain! Having a daily meditation practice can greatly improve our well being as well as productivity. In fact, innovative companies like Google and Twitter have become early adopters of mindfulness meditation practice by bringing it to their employees as a

way of enhancing workplace wellbeing and effectiveness.




Creating a daily meditation practice and sticking with it can be a boon for your health and well-being. Meditation has been shown to boost your immune system, strengthen your mind, and it can even make you more resilient when dealing with stressful situations! Meditation is an amazing practice that is often pushed aside and treated as non-sense, but it is proving to be the key to living a stress-free, productive and happy life.




Check out these 15 reasons to meditate that are backed by research!



 




15 Benefits of Meditation




1.Meditation Boosts Immunity

Meditation can help strengthen your immune response. In a 2013 study, Dr. Richie Davidson, from the Center For Investigating Healthy Minds, found that with just a short term mindfulness training program, participants of the study had a Stronger immune response when challenged with the flu virus injection. Our immune system acts as the body's suit of armor against viruses, bacteria and other pathogens.

There was a Randomized Control Trial that showed that meditation was effective for preventing respiratory illnesses. It also found that meditation increased recovery times.

2. May provide us protection from aging

There was a study done in order to explore the effects of mindfulness meditation on an enzyme in the body called telomerase, which functions to protect DNA from age and stress- related damage. They found that telomerase was increased in the group of meditators, which suggests that meditation can protect the cells from age- related damage.


3. It can lower your blood pressure

In one study, patients with coronary heart disease who practiced meditation had a reduced risk of heart attack, stroke, and even death


4. Meditation can improve brain function

A study by Dr. Sara Laza, a neuroscientist at Harvard, showed a correlation between routine mindfulness meditation and an increase in thickness of the prefrontal cortex. The pre- frontal cortex is our higher mind, it’s responsible for functions like focused attention and regulating emotional responses. This research also showed that meditation may reduce the amount of age- related damage in the brain.


It’s even been shown that meditation can actually restructure the brain!

Check out this article from Psychology Today: This Is Your Brain on Meditation


5. Meditation can reduce pain

In a study from Brown University found that Mindfulness meditation effectively prevents depression and reduces distress in chronic pain. Scientists have now proposed a neurophysiological framework to explain these clinical benefits.



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The Mental Benefits of Meditation


6. Meditation helps fight depression


A study published in 2011 found that mindfulness meditation could reduce the rate of relapse of depression by up to 44% in people who had suffered previously. This effect was similar to taking a maintenance dose of antidepressants. Meditation is like an antidepressant but without the side effects!



7. Control eating habits

Research suggests that mindfulness meditation may help you cut back on binge eating and emotional eating


8. Meditation keeps the mind sharp and healthy

One study found that meditation has been shown to not only improve memory but to help cut back on distracting thoughts. A new study published in The Permanente Journal (Vol. 18, No.1) on health showed the introduction of the Transcendental Meditation helped to decrease teacher stress levels and eventual burnout.


9. Meditation can make you happy

Research shows that people who suffer from depression have more electrical activity on the right side of the brain and those with more positive and resilient mindsets show more left brain activity. There was a study that demonstrated that with regular mindfulness practices, the electrical brain activity shifted from right to left, “left-sided anterior activation,” indicating a transition to more positive emotional states. Meditation makes us happier, resilient against stress, and can cut down on anger.



 

Stress, Sleep, and Happiness



10. Meditation helps with anxiety

There’s a study that suggests that meditation can cut back on anxiety by almost 40 percent by activating the areas in the brain that are involved in high level functions like thinking and emotional processing.



11. It only takes 25-30 mins to see benefits!

Just 25 minutes of meditation (done three times per week) may make tasks feel less stressful, according to recent research. Here is another study that suggests that 30 minutes of meditation can improve symptoms of depression.


12. An effective treatment for sleeping disorders

Not only does science suggest it may help treat insomnia, but experts believe that meditation can help keep your mind in check throughout the day and reduce stress, thus leading to a better, more night’s sleep.



13. Meditation can make you more productive

One study found that multitasking office workers who meditated improved their performance and memory of the tasks they’d worked on as well as their emotional state and awareness. Another study showed that just 4 days of 20 minute meditation sessions improved focus and led to higher scores on cognitive tests. This study found

that students who meditated before a lecture (and subsequent quiz) did better than those who didn’t.


14. Can even reduce pain!

Studies show that meditation may thicken your brain (particularly the portion that regulates pain), slashing your sensitivity to any touch-inducing actions, and any dependency on meds.


15. Meditation makes us nicer

In one study, meditation was linked with more empathy and laughter, being more social, and having a more team-oriented mentality (practitioners used “we” more than “I”). Meditation can also help communicate better in our relationships. In one study,

people who meditated and tried to problem-solve with their partner approached the issue with less hostility and a better mood.


Still have some concerns about meditation? Check out my post Top 5 reasons people don’t meditate (And why they should)


If you are interested in starting a meditation practice, book an online or in person session to learn how to practice meditation as well as integrate it into your busy schedule.




Research and Article Links

Suggested Reading

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