In this post I’m going to discuss a 6 reasons why you should take up meditation if you haven’t already.
And if you have stopped meditating these might persuade you to pick up meditation again 🙂
The following are a couple things I have noticed after picking up meditation over the last couple years and some might surprise you
1. Physically Changes You
A study conducted in 2011 at Harvard led by a Dr. Sarah Lazar found that meditating for just eight weeks increases your brain size in three crucial areas:
The left hippocampus which is responsible for your ability to learn as well as your ability to retain information.
The posterior cingulate which is involved in your ability to control where your mind wanders
And the temporal pareital junction, which is responsible for empathy and compassion.
Meditation does not only grow the beneficial parts of your brain the same study found that after eight weeks of meditation there were also decreases in cell volume in the amygdala which is the area of your brain that is responsible for fear anxiety and stress.
2. Reduces bad feelings
To further expand on the last point made there have been numerous studies that look solely at the effects of meditation on negative emotions such as extreme stress, depression and anxiety.
Now stress is not inherently bad for you in fact a little stress is actually healthy for you however there are many people who stress too much and this can cause serious health problems.
A study in 2004 found that meditation can help you better manage as well as dramatically decrease the negative side effects of stress.
A recent study published on JAMA internal medicine by Professor Willem Kuykem who worked with people who suffer from depression. Kuykem found that mindfulness meditation helped people “Just as much as commonly prescribed antidepressant drugs” people undergoing the study had a 31% less of a chance of relapsing a similar study in 2014 managed by a Dr. Elizabeth Hodge worked with people diagnosed with general anxiety disorder.
She found that meditating for just eight weeks dramatically reduced anxiety symptoms.
Researchers of John Hopkins published a paper on JAMA internal medicine in which they reviewed over 19,000 meditation studies and they came to the conclusion that meditation helps ease depression and anxiety.
Now I am not saying ditch your medication and do meditation. Meditations used in conjunction with medication can have dramatic positive results in relieving depression and anxiety.
3. Helps you overcome bad habits
The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is the part of your brain that is responsible for will power. A study conducted in 2015 found that meditation stimulates growth in this part of your brain.
A study in 2014 conducted by a Dr. Sarah Bowen separated a large group of alcoholics into two smaller groups one group was taught mindfulness meditation while the other followed your typical 12-step program.
They found that only 8% of participants in the mindfulness meditation program reported relapsing a year later as compared to 20% of participants in the 12-step program reported relapsing a year later.
4. Helps you concentrate
The fourth benefit of meditation is that it increases your ability to concentrate and focus.
A study in 2010 conducted by a Dr. Katherine MacLean of the University of California Davis had subjects perform extremely boring tasks such as looking for small differences in lines. She found that the group who practiced meditation during the course of the study performed significantly better.
Suggesting that meditation increases your ability to concentrate.
Another study conducted at the University of Washington by a professor Dr. Levey found that meditation increased the length of time which workers were able to concentrate on a single task.
5. It is extremely healthy
A study conducted on older adults at the University of California Los Angeles found that meditation decreased the amount of c-reactive protein in the blood. This directly correlates with the development of heart disease.
This same study found a drop in inflammation in the body overall.
Another study conducted at the Bentson Henry Institute for mind-body medicine in Boston looked at a group of hypertension patients they discovered with just three months of meditation practice the patients were able to drastically decrease their blood pressure.
The most mind-blowing of all was a study conducted in 2010 by Nobel Prize winner Elizabeth Blackburn. She found that meditation had the effect on your body at a genetic level; they found that meditation could protect the length of your telomeres for those of you who don’t know what telomeres are short telomeres are a marker for accelerated aging. This is evidence that meditation may slow down the process of aging.
6. Makes you happier
In a famous study conducted in 2004 by a Dr. Richard Davidson he place electrodes on the heads of monks who are practitioners of meditation for years. He discovered that the monks had 30 times the normal amount of gamma waves which are associated with intelligence compassion self-control and feelings of happiness in the brain.
Another study published in 2008 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology by Professor Barbara Fredrickson stated that the results show that a meditation practice produced positive emotions that increased over time if you practiced it on a daily basis.
So it is to no surprise why some of the top performers of the world today like CEOs sports teams and entrepreneurs are all jumping on the meditation bandwagon there are just so many positive benefits. Meditation can be done anywhere, anytime when you know how to.
It does not cost you anything if you do it by yourself in your own time.