Whether you desire a calm mind, longer attention span or better sleep quality, meditation has been scientifically proven to boost your health. Discover what this ancient practice can do for you.
One of the primary perks of meditation is lowered stress. As the staff at Gundry MD relates, a study performed by Carnegie Mellon University linked even moderate sessions of this practice to reduction of cortisol levels, which results in a heightened sense of calm. Researchers studied participants who engaged in a three-day period of daily meditation.
After the three days, the participants performed speech and math-related tasks. The individuals who meditated had lower cortisol levels than the individuals who hadn’t meditated.
Enhances attention span
According to Matthew Thorpe, MD, PhD, contributor to Healthline.com, meditation strengthens your ability to concentrate and lengthens your attention span. Researchers have found that meditation might reverse brain patterns that trigger anxiety, distraction and mind-wandering.
John Cloud, contributor to Time magazine, cites a meditation study performed by Katherine MacLean of the University of California, Davis. Thirty of the participants went on a three-month meditation retreat in Colorado, while another 30 did not. After the three-month period, all participants completed a computer test which asked them to distinguish small visual differences between lines flashed on a screen. Those who did the meditation retreat were way more likely than those in the control group to notice and report small visual differences.
Better quality of sleep
If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, meditation is an effective solution. Per Dr. Nina Radcliff with The Washington Times, if you meditate, you will experience better sleep on a regular basis.
One of the studies backing this claim hails from JAMA Internal Medicine; the group surveyed individuals who participated in a six-week meditation program versus those who did not. At the end of the course, individuals who participated in the course reported less insomnia and an overall improved sleep quality when compared to the individuals who were taught sleep hygiene practices other than meditation.
As Jo Marchant, contributor to New Scientist, identifies, meditation can also help you minimize inflammation within your body. Psychologist Ivana Buric, from the Coventry University’s Brain, Belief and Behaviour Lab, performed a study that indicated that meditation helped to deactivate a protein called NF-kB, which functions as the “on” switch for triggering inflammation in certain genes.
Because meditation minimizes inflammation, this in turn reduces the likelihood that you’ll experience cardiovascular, autoimmune and neurodegenerative diseases. It can also help reduce your chances of contracting certain forms of cancer.
Minimizes age-related memory loss
According to Gundry MD, meditation lessens brain deterioration that causes memory loss. The Frontiers in Psychology journal issued a study that surveyed those who had practiced meditation their whole life versus those who didn’t. The researchers discovered that the individuals who meditated on a regular basis retained more gray matter in the brain compared with the individuals who hadn’t meditated.
Stephen Adams, contributor to the Daily Mail, emphasizes a study published by Harvard neuroscientist Dr. Sara Lazar that surveyed MRI scans from 16 individuals, taken before and after they did an eight-week meditation course. The MRI scans of those who did engage in the program revealed thicker grey matter in several brain regions associated with memory, while those who didn’t do the program showed no signs of brain growth.
Expensive supplements, rigorous diets and regular massages aren’t the only way to enjoy greater wellbeing and a refreshing clarity of mind. This year, try meditating your way to a healthier state of being, both mentally and physically.