7 Ways Meditation Can Improve your Life

By Michael Galvan | 01/05/2016

Chronically tired? Stressed out? Feeling sick?

Daily meditation may help relieve or reduce all of these problems. Meditation is an ancient practice that involves deep focus and relaxation. There have always been advocates who preach its mental and physical benefits, but new empirical data supports these claims.

It may feel exotic, but meditation is becoming a more widely accepted practice in the west. Mediation is a wide umbrella of practices that seek to train the mind and consciousness. Many people mediate to reflect on their lives and relax.

If you are looking to start meditating for the first time, there are thousands of great books and websites. Many people find that taking a class is helpful. Another easy way to get started is by downloading the free trial of HeadspaceTM which is a meditation based app.

Here are seven reasons to add meditation to your daily routine.

1. It can make you happier.

Researchers spent eight weeks examining whether or not an accessible amount of hours meditating would cause changes within the brain. The data showed that less than nine hours a week of meditation shifted EEG signals toward a pattern associated with happiness.Another study found that mindfulness meditation can have powerful effects on the mood of cancer patients.2

2. It lowers stress.

Meditation affects the brain even when you aren’t meditating. A recent study found that meditation reduces stress levels when people view negative emotional content.3

3. It strengthens your immune system.

Hate the flu? Try meditation. Meditation has been linked to an increase in influenza antibodies4—making it harder for you to get sick.  

4. It helps you sleep better.

Mindful meditation could be described as being aware and non-judgmental of stream-of-consciousness thoughts.  Meditation seeks to develop a positive outlook in order to promote mental balance. Because of this, people who meditate regularly and are “mindful” often experience better sleep than those who don’t.5

5. It protects your brain.

 A comparison of people who had been meditating more than twenty years, compared with those who hadn’t, showed that the meditators had preserved more brain tissue.6

6. It helps you focus.

Taking a test? Always forget your keys? Or maybe you just struggle with staying on point in general. Researchers have studied the retention rates of GRE candidates and noted that those who meditated regularly showed an improved memory and a decreased wandering mind.7

7. It helps prevent addiction relapse.

In a study of more than 280 people, those who practiced meditation were shown to have a lower rate of addiction relapse for drugs and alcohol than for those who did not.8

 

 

References

  1. http://pss.sagepub.com/content/22/10/1277.extract
  2. http://journals.lww.com/psychosomaticmedicine/Abstract/2000/09000/A_Randomized,_Wait_List_Controlled_Clinical_Trial_.4.aspx
  3. http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2012/11/meditations-positive-residual-effects/
  4. http://puredhamma.net/wp-content/uploads/Alterations-in-Brain..by-Mindful-Meditation-Davidson-2003.pdf
  5. http://archive.unews.utah.edu/news_releases/better-living-through-mindfulness/
  6. http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01551/full
  7. http://pss.sagepub.com/content/24/5/776
  8. http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1839290