When thinking of meditation, some automatically assume it means sitting and doing nothing. Quite oppositely, mediation involves a bit of work and determination to get it right — so it’s nothing close to simply “zoning out.” When you successfully do it, though, there are so many benefits of meditation that have been proven by scientific research. You may have heard in the past that meditation is good for you, but perhaps you don’t know the reasons why. This article will highlight some of the countless reasons meditation is beneficial for our bodies, and who knows, you might just feel the urge to meditate immediately after you read some of them.
Meditation is all about making yourself mindful of your thoughts and surroundings. By training your mind in this way, you are taking your brain (and body) to a new, better place — if only because of the benefits we are about to discuss here. As you will learn, meditation can help in countless ways — from making you feel more positive about yourself, to helping to make you more alert, to helping ease pain. Whatever you choose to use mediation for, it might turn out that you’re benefitting your body in a lot more ways than originally anticipated. And for those who’d like to know more about the different kinds of mediation you might consider trying, check out this article from The Copra Center that breaks down some of the specific types. Here are 11 weird benefits of meditation that everyone should know about.
1. It Can Boost Your Self-Esteem
We can all be critical on ourselves from time to time, but did you know you could use the power of meditation to help quash it? According to a study published by the journal Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, individuals who were classified as self-critical were able to reduce these feelings and increase self-esteem and positive emotions about themselves using meditation.
2. It Can Better Your Ability To Focus
Having trouble focusing? Look no further than a meditation sesh to get your mind right. A study published in the journal Psychological Science examined how meditation affected performance on the verbal reasoning section of the GRE, and found it significantly improved focus in addition to memory during the exam, resulting in higher scores. What’s more, it only took a mere couple of weeks of meditation training before the exam to achieve these results.
3. It Can Makes Your Brain Age More Slowly
Those who practice mediation for 40 minutes a day have thicker cortical walls in their brain than those we don’t meditate, according to a study from the journal NeuroReport. What does that mean? Well, excitingly for the meditators, it means those doing so actually have brains that are aging more slowly than their peers.
4. It Can Help Fight Against Depression
Get this — meditation can have an equal effect on depression as antidepressants can, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. The researchers in the study stressed the fact that meditation to achieve these results is best when it is mindful, meaning the meditator is actively training their brain to be as aware as possible.
5. ... And Anxiety, Too
What’s more, in that same JAMA Internal Medicine we just discussed, the participants saw positive changes in the amount of anxiety they experienced. Just as their symptoms of depression had been reduced, so had their symptoms of anxiety, according to the study.
6. It Can Increase Your Alertness
Meditation can make you more alert as well, according to a 2006 study. The study looked at students who were either asked to sleep, meditate or watch TV. Those who were assigned meditation were proved to be significantly more alert than their peers.
7. It Can Assist In Managing ADHD
For adults who have ADHD, mediation can be beneficial for you. This is according to a study from the Journal of Attention Disorders, which found mindful meditation helped patients in reducing the core symptoms of ADHD when used in addition to their regular course of treatment.
8. It’s Great For Pain Relief
You don’t have to turn to the drug store to find pain relief. According to a study from Wake Forest Baptist University, meditation can reduce pain by 40 percent. In comparison, even big-time pain relievers like morphine only reduce pain by about 25 percent.
9. It Can Improve Your Immune System
Mindful meditation can boost your antibodies — thereby helping your immune system — according to a study published in Psychosomatic Medicine. The study found that participants who’d trained in mediation as part of the study had a significantly higher level of antibodies compared to those who had not meditated.
10. It Can Help You Be A Better Multitakser
For those who find they’re constantly trying to get a lot accomplished at once, meditation might be your key to success. According to a study conducted by University of Washington researchers, those who practiced meditation were better multitaskers in that they switched between tasks less often, remained focused on tasks longer, and reported lower levels of stress and improved memory for tasks.
11. It Can Help Fight Off Addiction
Meditating can help you in regards to addiction, too, according to a study from the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. The study found participants who practiced mindfulness — AKA meditation — were more likely to quit smoking than those in other addiction treatment programs.
Now that you’re aware of some of the scientifically proven benefits of meditation, try bringing this practice of mindfulness into your every day life. You might find the benefits popping up for you within a mere couple of weeks.