Science of Meditation – Benefits of Meditation and Mindfulness Explained

Meditation and mindfulness is still considered taboo in many parts of the world and is often perceived as something only monks and buddhists are doing. A bald guy sitting with his legs crossed and humming by the ocean. However the world is evolving and now some of the biggest and most successful people in the world have applied the ancient techniques of meditation to their busy schedules. So in this video I will break down the science of meditation and mindfulness and how it can impact you.

Meditation has tremendous effects when it comes to boosting your happiness. If you meditate effectively it will decrease depression, anxiety, and stress. According to the American Psychosomatic Society, “Mindfulness meditation was effective in decreasing mood disturbance and stress symptoms in both male and female patients with a wide variety of cancer diagnoses, stages of illness, and ages.”

Added to that, it also increases your positive emotions. Again, the American Psychosomatic Society published an article that stated that “a short program in mindfulness meditation produces demonstrable effects on brain and immune function. These findings suggest that meditation may change brain and immune function in positive ways”. So meditation will actually not only decrease stress, anxiety and depression, but it will also increase the positive emotions. However the article also underscored the need for more research.

Meditation has also been proven to boost your overall health. It increases your immune function and inflammation at the cellular level. One study concluded that mindfulness meditation reduces physical pain. “After four-days of mindfulness meditation training, meditating in the presence of noxious stimulation significantly reduced pain-unpleasantness by 57% and pain-intensity ratings by 40% when compared to rest.” So if you have physical pain, meditation can help you relieve some of that!

Meditation boosts your social life and increases your emotional intelligence. It makes you more compassionate and even makes you feel less lonely. You will increase your sense of connection to others according to the American Psychological Association. “A brief loving-kindness meditation exercise were conducted to examine whether social connection could be created toward strangers in a controlled laboratory context. And  just a few minutes of loving-kindness meditation increased feelings of social connection and positivity toward novel individuals. These results suggest that this easily implemented technique may help to increase positive social emotions and decrease social isolation.” Maybe not the tip you expected. Sit by yourself in peace and quiet to boost your social life!

Meditation will actually change your brain for the better. Using high-resolution MRI data of 44 subjects, scientists set out to examine the underlying anatomical correlates of long-term meditation with different regional specificity. “The effects of meditation were visual and they detected significantly larger gray matter volumes in meditators in the right orbito-frontal cortex. In addition, meditators showed significantly larger volumes of the right hippocampus that’s implicated in emotional regulation and response control” according to sciencedirect. So if you want to increase the size of your brain and head so you can fit your head into a larger helmet, my tip is for you to meditate!

It will also improve your productivity. I hope you sit comfortable and listen carefully now because if you’re not convinced by now, you should hear this. Meditation will increase your focus, attention, memory, ability to multitask, as well as your ability to be creative and think outside the box.

“After four sessions of either meditation training or listening to a recorded book, participants with no prior meditation experience were put to the test. Both interventions were effective at improving mood but only brief meditation training reduced fatigue, anxiety, and increased mindfulness.” The findings, according to sciencedirect, suggest that just 4 days of meditation training can enhance the ability to sustain attention; benefits that have previously been reported with long-term meditators.

Meditating gives you perspective. You can take a step back and observe what you feel rather than letting your feelings control you, which in turn will improve your logical decision making. When you really get to know your mind, you will by default become more authentic, and perhaps more humble.

If you want my humble opinion on it, I think everyone should perform some kind of meditation or mindfulness practice for at least 15 minutes a day, unless you’re incredibly busy of course. Then you should do it for at least 30 minutes.

/Adam


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