45 BEnefits Of Meditation
As a person who has lived this life as a meditator and a non meditator, I choose being a meditator every day! It has helped me manage stress and virtually eliminate panic attacks that I was having almost on a daily basis. The act of quieting the mind has helped me focus more and feel more driven and determined as well as feel like a I can better persevere through life’s ups and downs.
But you may be thinking that is all good and well. But where is the science and what are the tried and true benefits of mediation?
Well today I go into that for you, showing the the 101 mediation benefits you can start experiencing if you choose to start practicing meditation. Or may already be experiencing if you are an avid meditator!
Benefits of Meditating
1.) Lower Stress
A article done by Harvard talks about the link between meditation for lower stress and talks about how mindful based stress reduction program helped people tame symptoms of anxiety in people that suffered from generalized anxiety disorder. This is because mindfulness allows you to separate yourself from your thoughts.
For example if you are late for work and a stress thought comes up that you will lose your job if you don’t make it on time, instead of letting it take you down a stress spiral, you will instead realize that it is just a thought and not your core self. It allows you to distinguish between either a thought that will help you solve problems or a nasty worry that doesn’t present us any benefit.
2.) Increases GABA (Calm Chemical)
GABA is a inhibitory neurotransmitters located within our central nervous system. They are best known for creating a calm feeling in our body. The problem is, that millions of people have low levels of GABA as a great article about meditation talks about. It also states that GABA levels was increased by 27% after only 60 minutes of engaging in mindful exercises. The article points out that this is even more effective for raising these levels than actual exercise
3.) Increased Libido (DHEA increased by 40 %)
I think we would all agree that it can be difficult to feel intense feelings of sexual arousal when our minds are busy chattering away. An awesome article that talks about the link between sex drive and meditation says that of we are in fight or flight mode too often nowadays which lead to us feeling unarroused. Meditation can help blood flow which is vital for optimal sexual health. But it also helps raise DHEA levels which are linked with testosterone levels in men as well as estrogen levels in women. It is also more effective in raising DHEA levels than with actual supplementation.
The article talks about how Dr. Vincent Giampapa who is a former President of the American Board of Anti-Aging Medicine discovered that DHEA levels in mediators where higher by at minimum 40 percent! Not only is this hormone linked to better sexual health, it is also very critical for maintaining good mental, emotional as well as physical well being. Some even call it the fountain of youth!
Sex is a form of mediation too, nothing may ever be better than putting us in the moment! So lets have more safe sex!!
4.) Helps With Depression
Quieting the mind can provide those who suffer from depression with some hope and peace. A article about how meditation helps with depression states how mediation has been found to make changes in the brain in certain regions which are precisely linked with depression. For example the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) is where we process all information that has to do with yourself. Well this gets very hyperactive in depressed people. People with depression also have a heightened amygdala which is the fear center that releases cortisol which is the stress hormone. These two centers of the brain or interlinked and when they aren’t working correctly, cause depression. The article talks about how meditation helps us break the connection with these two regions of the brain.
Also mediation also helps expand the amount of gray matter in the hippocampus, an area in the brain linked to memory. Which also tends to be smaller in people with depression.
The Washington Post also documents a woman journey to getting off of antidepressants after 6 months of meditation after nothing else worked. Check it out here: Nothing worked for my depression until I tried meditation.
5.) Lowers Blood Pressure
Lower stress levels can be excellent for lowering our blood pressure, which mediation is linked to. An article on the link between blood pressure and medication talks about how a doctor administered a mediation protocol to 60 patients. 40 of them lowered the blood pressure and some of them even got off of current blood pressure medications or at least lowered their dose. The relaxation response of meditation was linked to the formation of compound called nitric oxide in which causes blood vessels to open up, in turn this allows blood pressure levels to lower.
An article about meditation and blood pressure talks about how a more advanced for of meditation called transcendental mediation can help lower blood pressure drastically. After analysis of the average values of 31 studies involving TM, it showed the plasma lactate levels were significantly decreased during the practice of transcendental meditation. Which this is a stress hormone that is related to those who have high blood pressure.
6.) Lower Inflammation
When inflammation gets out of hand, terrible things happen. Inflammation is linked to any and all diseases that plague people around the world. An article talks about the link between meditation and inflammation genes. It talks about there was a study in which there we 18 trials with 846 participants that ranged over almost a decade that showed that genes related to inflammation are less active when it comes to people who practice mind-body interventions, one of those being meditation.
The article also talked about how meditation and other mind-body interventions may help reduce the risk for disorders related to inflammation, both psychological and physical conditions. These intervention techniques, like meditation, work on affecting a key gene protein called NF-kB, which is the on-switch for inflammation, which become less active when one is actively engaging in these relaxation activities.
7.) Slows Aging
Again some more evidence that meditation just may allow us to access the fountain of youth! According to a great article by The Guardian is a small amount of evidence emerging that mediation slows the aging process at a cellular level. These studies have actually been done over a quarter of the last millennia!
It has gone of the basis cellular aging is linked to the length of telomeres which are the protein and DNA caps that provided us with protection of the end of each of our chromosomes during cell division.
Each time the chromosomes goes through the process of replication, they shorten. Eventually there can no longer be any more division within our chromosomes which results in apoptosis, which is said to be cellular suicide.
Short telomeres are interlinked to many age related diseases. Studies have shown that telomere length in immune cells of individuals that participated in a mediation retreat had increased telomere length. A similar retreat showed an increased in an enzyme known as telomerase, which is known to rebuild telomeres.
There article also refers us out to another study which shows us that Zen meditatoors have longer than average telomeres compared to people that are similar in age.
We all want to retain that youthful exuberance, now we can with a steady practice of mediation!
8.) Pain Management
Mindful mediation has been shown to reduce pain and by a viable option of pain management. There an article that talks about a study in the Journal of Neuroscience in which Dr. Ziedan and his associates presented a surprising finding in which mindfulness meditation achieves it’s pain relief-effect without the engagement of opioid receptors within our brains.
It also talks about how similar brain areas are activated when one engages in mindful mediation mediated by opioid receptors This study was mainly about induced pain, where they took.
This study admitted that they do not know the exact biochemical pathways in which meditation exerts it’s effect of pain relief in it’s subjects, but it offers evidence for the existence when it comes to non-opiod process in the brain that helps reduce pain when mindfulness meditation is used.
9.) Better Sleep
Another study by Harvard was done that shows how mediation is helpful in fighting insomnia along with improving sleep cycles. They talk about a study in which 49 middle aged and older adults participated, all of which had trouble sleeping. Half of the participants completed a program that was centered around mindfulness awareness which taught them meditation as well as other exercises geared towards helping them focus on moment to moment feelings, thoughts along with experiences. The other half of the class completed sleep education class which taught them different techniques to help them better their sleep habits.
Both groups met up each week for two hours at a time. When they compared both groups, the one who meditated had less insomnia, depression and fatigue when the 6 weeks of sessions were over. The article talked about how mindfulness meditation helps one evoke the relaxation response. Which the more you do, the more you are able to do so when it comes time to really needing to activate it, like when we go to sleep.
10.) Increased Creativity & Innovation
Mediation can also allow us to innovative and maximize our creative abilities. There is a great article about how mindful mediation boosts creativity and innovation. It talks about how mediation can reduce reactivity of the reptilian brain which is most concerned with survival, primarily activated by adrenaline.. AKA the fight or flight response.
It is a lazy part of our brain that only processes things that are vital for our survival. Rant over! This means that it stifles the area of the brain that gets in the way of our creative thinking.
It also does things like increase resilience, provide stimulation to the neo-cortex along with better our emotional intelligence.
All of which allow us to be more creative humans. Mediation can also allow us to handle our feelings better and not be so consumed by them, allow using to not get blocked up when trying to use our creative abilities.
11.) Help With Dementia
Meditation can help your mind in many ways, even do so with people with serious brain problems. There is an article that talks about how meditation can slow Alzheimer’s, referrencing a studying in which they talk about a study that was performed on adults that ranged from the ages of 55-90.
The group was divided into two smaller groups. One group was cared for through normal processes the other was instructed to perform mediation and yoga for a minimum of two hours each week. The research provided some shocking facts which included.
People who practiced meditation experienced less atrophy within the hippocampus, which is shrunken down to less than normal size in those who suffer from Alzheimer’s. Along with the providing better brain connectivity for those who meditated versus those who didn’t.
The article also talked about how mediation can help seniors feel less isolated and lonely, both of which increase in those with Alzheimer’s. Lessen stress which correlates with Alzheimer’s along with increase cortical thickness and grey matter which is associated with memory creation along with decision making, both of which patients with Alzheimer’s have problems with.
12.) Increased Intuition
The power of intuition is almost endless. Some of the best inventions or ideas have came from the greatest minds of all time. A great article talks about how when we are tapping into our intuition, we are tapping into a scientifically proven quantum field that is within every human being on this earth. It can be done through the access of your subconscious mind often. You can do this easily through meditation allowing us to dig through our chaotic mind by simply quieting it and allowing intuitive thoughts to naturally emerge.
For myself, I know I get my best intuitive thoughts when I am at the gym. I am completely in the zone at the gym, mindful nearly the entire time. A form of meditation for sure.
Mediation can also allow you to have better brain health, which in turn allows you to create a better connection with your gut, often times referred to as your second brain. This is where we get our gut feelings from. If we better this connection, we can start to access our higher power of intuition more easily and readily.
13.) More Compassion!
Believe it or not, mediation can also make you a nicer person. The more compassionate we are, the more happy we are. The two are interlinked. A post titled – Meditation makes us act with compassion – talks about how a study was done by which included people with either no meditation experience at all or very little. One group went to a class that consisted of the participants using mindfulness meditation in order to quiet the participants minds. The other was feared toward discussing things as compassion and suffering. Both classes were taught to the students in a purely secular format.
So at the end of eight weeks of classes, researchers observed how the participants responded to waiting for an appointment in a waiting room. Researchers observed that 50 percent of the individuals who were enrolled in the meditation classes gave up their seat to other people who came in and didn’t have a place to sit. Versus only 15 percent doing so from the non-mediation group. The people that came into a full room were planted there for the purpose of this study.
The studies concluded that mediation increases compassionate behavior. It also was concluded that meditation provides people with heightened awareness regrading their surroundings along with heightening our ability to take on the perspective of those around us. In a sense, feel someone else’s suffering and seek to lessen that suffering. Which is one of the highest forms of love.
14.) Help With Addiction
A great article talks about how meditation helps with addiction. It goes into a few facts about meditation, one of which we talked about above, reducing the brains “me center” or the self referential thoughts. Addicts are often very self-centered, looking for their next fix. Taking their awareness of themselves or lessening it, can lessen the need for their particular drug of choice.
The article also talks about how one can address and process their cravings before they become overwhelming. It also helps people focus their attention providing a better ability to let go of the feelings of craving the substance or thing they are addicted to. It helps us detach from our feelings of craving, allowing us to choose not to act on them. And helps us better manage stress, which is one of the biggest reasons why people with addictions use drugs, to calm themselves or anxiety.
15.) Increases Attention Span
Focus is key to success in any field or endeavor. Mediation can help us keep focused by lengthening the amount of time we can keep our attention on something. A study showed that Buddhist meditation helps people become better focused for longer amounts of time on a task which requires us to distinguish small differences between what we are seeing.
The study started with 140 people, 60 of which were selected for the study. 30 of these people went on a meditation retreat while the other 30 waited back for their turn to do so as well. This set up the second group as being the control group for the first one.
No one was particularly new the the practice of meditation. During the retreat all participants took a computer test which measured how effectively they were aboe to make fine visual distinctions along wit sustaining visual attention.
The test consisted of lines flashing on the screen, whenever a shorter line came up, the participant was to click the mouse to respond. As this training went on, participants got better at discriminating the shorter lines from the regular ones. This improvement actually got better over the five months that followed the retreat, especially for those who continued to practiced mediation each day.
16.) Better Immunity
There is an awesome article by Chopra.com that talks about how mediation can boost your immunity. It talks about how out immune system responds to both negative along with positive thoughts. Mediation can provided a positive mental environment that allows the immune system to function optimally.
Meditation has also been shown to produce antibodies after a recent 8 week study with 48 biotech workers who meditated, had higher levels of antibodies compared to the group who didn’t partake in any meditation.
The article also talks about how meditation stimulates regions in the brain that pertain to out immune system. Some of which includes increasing electical activity in the prefrontal cortex, right hippocampus and right anterior insula. All of these regions play a role in commanding our immune systems.
17.) Increases Productivity
When it come down to it, the more we can control our anxiety and tame our loud and disruptive mind, the more we can focus. The more we can focus the more we can blaze through our day more effectively and efficiently. It has also been showed to recharge us, almost like a nap as it puts us in a deep state of relaxation. It is more of a cumulative effect in which the more you do it, the better you sleep, allowing you to wake up and attack your day with more energy and a more clear head.
An article titled – Meditation as a productivity tool – talks about how Hugh Jackman has used meditation to bring calmness and peace to a pretty chaotic life that he lives. Also he states that it makes him calm and happy.
Considering that he is in one of the most stressful professions of all time, this is a testimony to the power of meditation. Also the more calm and happy we are, the better we feel about ourselves. We won’t want to sabotage ourselves with habits of procrastination. When we feel good about ourselves we engage in activities that are conducive to bringing us more happiness. Which includes being productive!
The article also talks about how meditation strengthens our willpower muscle in which allows us to resist the urge to engage in counterproductive activities. We will also be more able to handle and manage these urges when they come up. You can also see your thoughts objectively and without personally identifying with them. When you do this, you can let go of thoughts that are sabotaging your ability to manage your day.
18.) Improving Relationships
A great article talks about 9 ways a meditating brain can create better relationships. A few of which include:
- Being able to tune in to people you are around, able to “get” them and where they are coming from. Research also shows that the better you are at doing this, the better your partner becomes at it as well.
- Improved empathy thorough meditation allows you to see things from others perspectives, but do so without rose colored glasses. You see it clearly, allowing you to relate to them and offer better solutions to their problems.
- It makes you emotionally resistant in which you can better your mood quickly when it gets out of hand. Negative feelings don’t linger as long as they would if you weren’t meditating. You are able to get yourself back to baseline faster, avoiding big arguments with people or saying things that you are going to regret.
- It allows us to be more conscious of the thoughts that we are thinking about saying before they even come up. It can help us say the right thing to people that can help them and our relationship flourish.
19.) Boost Your IQ (By 23 percent!)
INC.com has a an awesome post on how mediation can improve IQ drastically. A man named Siegfried Othmer who is a former president of neurofeedback division of the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, created a neurofeedback research that had to deal with participants using brainwave training which is a specific form of meditation. Those who where meditators showed an average IQ gain of 23 percent.
They followed up with the same participants a year later and the effect was lasting. According to the study, the same people showed big gains in both concentration and creativity along with self-awareness.
The article also references another study in which it showed that after only 4 days in which the participants meditated for 20 minutes, they showed significant improvements in memory, lower stress levels and cognition. They also scored up to 10 times better on what is called “working task memory” which is very vital to fluid intelligence.
The awesome part about these studies are that these people in the study groups weren’t master meditators, they were people just like you and me. This shows that anyone can raise IQ and fluid intelligence with simple daily mediation practice.
20.) Help With Memory
The Atlantic has a great article that talks about how meditation improves memory and attention. It talks about how researchers at University of California at Santa Barbara took 48 undergraduate students and allowed them to take either a mindfulness class or a nutrition class. Both classes et for 45 minutes at at time and 4 times a week for a period of two weeks.
The teachers that taught the information to the students were professionals in their said subject they were teaching. The mediation class was given mental strategies that had to do with focused attention meditation. These techniques were engaged in for 10-20 minutes inside class as well as 10 minutes of daily meditation outside of the class.
The students in both classes took the Graduate Record Examinations, the standardized test that is a must for a grad school application. They took it both before their study group courses and after they were done.
The results were that the study group that engaged in daily meditation had scores go up from 460 to 520. And also improved on tests related to focus and working memory. Whereas the nutrition course study group showed no improvement at all.
21.) Makes Us Happier
Meditation can provide us with a long term solution the problem we are all seeking to solve. How to be happier! An article titled the science of why meditation makes you so much happier talks over a few scientific facts about how it does so.
One of the main reasons is that it shrinks the amygdala which is the part of the brain that controls both our levels of fear and anxiety. It also lowers the amount of cortisol in the body which when too high, we experience stress and anxiety, hence the lower it is, it provides us with higher levels of happiness.
Another study talked about that was done at the University of Wisconsin talks about how they found that the employees that partook in a study in which they found that the participants had more activity within the left prefrontal cortex which is the are of happiness in the brain, also known as the calm zone. This was only an 8 weeks study, imagine what we can do with months and years of meditation!
At the end of the day, the lower we can bring our stress levels, the happier we will be!
22.) Help With Social Anxiety
A great article by Forbes interviews a psychoterapist named Karen J Helfrich who uses mindfulness based treatments to treat social anxiety disorder, that focuses on empowering women through her work as a therapist in which many of her clients had have problems with social anxiety ever since the age of 13 in which the onset of social anxiety disorder usually comes to peoples forefront.
She likes our nervous system to the likes of to movie scenes where peole are all happy and smiling and happy music is playing, leading us to anticipate the start of a romance or good situation.
Then we have the same scene in which the soundtrack playing is darker and ominous. Which us as the viewer may then anticipate a much worse ending to the story, potentially a violent rampage.
Essentially, she says, mindfulness can allow us to change the music to the scenes of our lives. It can allow us to manage our minds trying to sway us towards thinking of the worst case scenario. It uses neural pathways in which cause the brain to signal the nervous system to calm down.
The more we use these neural pathways and strengthen them through meditation, the stronger we become. Making us more resilient to scenarios where our mind wants to go to the negative when we are out in the world.
23.) Reduce Risk For Heart Attack, Stoke and Death
There is a study in which was published in the journal of Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes which tested 201 participants in two different fashions. They were asked to either take a health education class in which it promoted better diet and exercise or take a class that taught its participants transcendental meditation.
The researchers that conducted the study followed them participants for the next 5 years and observed that the ones who enrolled and finished the mediation course had a 48 percent reduction is their overall risk of stroke, death and heart attack.
The mediation group also boasted an average drop in 4,9 mm HG in systolic blood pressure.
24.) Lower Resting Heart Rate
When you create lower levels of resting heart rate in your body, you experience the benefit of your heart not having to do as much work. This translates to having the ability to pump oxygenated blood in a more efficient way. IT also puts you at a lower risk for heart disease.
A great article talks about how by using a combination of yoga and meditation, you can bring a potential decline if the resting heart rate by 7-15 beats per minute. It also talks about how some studies show that meditation also can even lower heart rate more than things like biofeedback and other progressive relaxation techniques.
It does this by, again as we talked about above, bringing equilibrium between the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) aw well as the parasympathetic system which is responsible for slowing down our heart rate along with lowering our blood pressure.
25.) Helping Memory Problems As We Age
We are all going to get old, that is just the harsh truth! But we can keep our mental fitness up with meditation to lessen our chances of having to deal with diseases and disorders that come with the aging process. There was a study done that was geared towards seeing if meditation could help with memory loss and problems in the aging population.
A post called “meditation may fight off memory problems as you age” spoke on a study group included 25 older adults who were deemed to have mild cognitive impairment which is stated to be simply problems with thinking and memory in which in some cases can progress to dementia. The study was done over 12 weeks in which the group were randomly assigned to doing mediation and other yoga practices or doing a class that focused on memory enhancement training that focused on teaching students strategies that helped with forgetfulness.
At the end of the 12 weeks they retested the subjects. The results were that both groups did a little better on the verbal memory tests that were administered to them. But the group of meditators showed a larger change in tests that dealt with visual-spacial memory. This is what is needed for things like navigating while driving and walking along with trying to recall a location.
The group also showed less signs and symptoms of both anxiety and depression. The group was also put through specialized MRI scans which charted participants activity in their brain. Both groups showed changes in connectivity of particular brain networks that dealt with memory.
The great thing about meditation is that it is completely free to do. Although these tests are conclusive, the still show a promising sign that meditation can help with our memory as we age.
26.) Helps With Recovery
One of my favorite sites of all time Breaking Muscle talks about how we can use meditation to help with recovery and pain management. It states that meditation helps us see the real truth of a situation instead of allowing emotions to skew our opinions and reactions. We can look at the actual reality of our injuries instead of allowing us to believe what our mind is telling us, blowing the injury out of proportion. It can show us even these thoughts are actually valid or based on fear. This can take us away from worries about the injury.
Medication also calms the nervous system which stops the flight or fight response in our body in relation to our injuries. IT can help us relax muscles that are tense around an injury, lower cortisol levels, which when high inhibit our ability to recovery. And it can also balance our our receptors like dopamine and serotonin in which can dip when we have an injury.
It can also calm our systems when dealing with chronic pain. In a chronic pain state, our nervous systems can shift, pushing us into a state of hypersensitivity. When we are in this state, our brains start to send even more pain signals, even when there is no really danger.
It can even lead to sparking up pain signals in various areas of the body that damage isn’t even present. In this state, our pain alarms go off a lot easier and more often. But by engaging in relaxation techniques like meditation, you can calm down these pain signals and only have them be sent when necessary.
27.) Appetite Suppression
Simply becoming more mindful of what you are eating and going through the process of being present when you eat will allow you the opportunity to eat less. It will allow you to process how much you are chewing, swallowing and how full you really are. This will allo us to pump the breaks when we don’t need to eat any more to be truly satiated.
An article on why meditation can help you lose weight talks about how we can use mediation as an appetite suppressant. It goes into a couple great points which include:
- Meditation creates heightened awareness which can allow us to shine a spotlight onto our motivation to eat. You will dig deeper into the root cause of your food cravings, allowing you to identify and let go of the emotional factor linked to us binge eating. It can allow us to interrupt the cycle and control our desires more and more.
- We begin to modify our self concept by letting things go. Negative thoughts and feelings that deeply rooted in the concept of ourselves that we have created over decades. We will no longer act in ways that justify our old self image because we see that these thoughts are not us, just energy that we have identified with. If you so do choose to let go of these beliefs. Plain and simple meditation allows us to go through the process of deep self reflection and can allow us to remold ourselves for the good.
By letting go of concepts of ourselves that aren’t serving us, we will begin to see that we never were those sabotaging thoughts. Things like we are big boned and can’t lose weight or the obesity runs in my family. These are simply thoughts that have been trapped in our subconscious mind for years and when they come to the surface of our awareness, we can drop them for good.
28.) Better Decision Making
The University of Pennsylvania published an article about a study done by the authors of “Debiasing the Mind though Mediation:Mindfulness and the Sunk – Cost Bias” which the paper was published in Psychological Science in which it explores how meditation can reduce the likelihood that decisions will be made off the basis of information from past experiences that will not help us ultimately make the right decision because of.
According the the article, meditation has been shown to help people focus on the present moment, which in order to do so they need to let go of both the past and future. It takes them
In order to test the impact on how short bouts of mediation links to make decisions prone to what is called “sunk cost bias” which is defined as ones tendency to irrationally follow through with activities which aren’t meeting their expectations. Essentially people who just don’t know when to turn around and walk away.
The first pair of studies asked each participant to chose either one of two decision making tasks. The first task had to do with making an affirmative decision in which the choice to do something represented the resistance to the concept of sunk-cost basis. The other decision making task had to do a negative decision, the decision not to do something in which the participants had resisted the bias.
The people of whom went through a series of 15 minutes sessions of focused breathing mediation were more likely to resist the sunk cost bias compared to the people who didn’t meditate.
The study concluded it these people were better able at not TAKING emotions out of the equation when it comes do making decisions, but instead not letting the emotions hindering proper decision making to cloud their judgement.
Another article titled “meditation leads to better decision making” talks about how a study was done at Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute in which the found that people who meditate regularly utilize different sections of their brain in the decision process.
The study included 66 people in the study. 26 of these people considered themselves avid meditators. The other 40 weren’t so were allocated to the control group.
Every single participant played what was called an “ultimatum game” which is a game that involves a two person exchange where the the person playing the “proposer” role offers the option to split a $20 bill with the “responder”.
The person playing the responder roll cal either accept or decline the offer. If accepted each participant gets $10, if rejected, they both get nothing.
As participants were put into the study, researches continued to keep tabs on each persons neural activation pattern with what is referred to as function Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). The non meditators were shown to heavily use a region the brain called the anterior insula which is the part of the brain related to emotional disgust.
The meditators showed rarely any activity in the same region.
The study concluded with the results of the control group taking the money 1/4 of the time with people in the group even turning down their reward seeing it as unfair.
The meditators showed different results. More than half of the participants took what is offered. The MRI’s showed that the meditators drew upon ares in the brain which are involved with interoception and attention involving the present moment.
This concluded that the study suggested that good decision making may not lie in rational calculation but instead the concentration on the interoceptive qualities which have to do with the attainment of any reward, not matter how large or small.
The full study can be found here: Decision Neuroscience
29.) Reduces ADHD
A great article by Additude.com talks about how through the utilization of mindful meditation, we can train the ADHD mind to counteract it’s symptoms and create better concentration and focus. The particular recent study that had to do with this topic is titled “The effectiveness of Mindfulness Training for Children with ADHD and Mindful Parenting for their Parents” which was published int he Journal of Child and Family Studies.
The research consisted of a trial which evaulated the effectiveness which consisted of an 8 week mindfulness training session which the participants were children that ranged from 8-12 along with prescribing mindfulness training to their children’s parents as well.
The results showed that after 8 weeks of both groups going through the mindfulness meditation activities, they found a significant reduction when it came to parent reported ADHD symptoms that their children were experiencing. Also, a reduction is the parent stress that had to do with over-reactivity.
The article also talks about how researchers have shown that long term meditators have vastly different EEG and MRI patterns that have to do with the brains frontal region. This is the region that is involved with ADHD or lack thereof. And another study showed a higher level of dopamine in people during meditative states, which is the main neurotransmitter that is low in people with ADHD.
30.) Slows Progression of HIV
UCLA put out a study on how the practice of mindfulness meditation slows the progression of HIV. The study talks about how the CDR+ T lymphocytes (CD4 T cells) are the brains of our immune system which coordinated activity during a time where the body is under attack. They are also attacked when someone has the onset of HIV. The HIV virus eats away at these CD4 T Cells and in turn weakens the infected persons immune system.
The research done researchers at UCLA have reported that practicing mindfulness meditation can stop the decline or the CD4 T cells in those who have been diagnosed HIV-positive, slowing down the disease from progressive at faster rates. This study was put out in the online edition of Journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.
They concluded the mindfulness meditation can serve as a powerful complementary treatment couple with medication in aiding someone who is HIV positive.
The main study had to do with 48 HIV positive adults based out of Los Angeles, CA. After 8 weeks of using mindfulness meditation, the group showed no loss in CD4 T Cells which showed as an indicator that through the utilization of meditation, one can buffer declines.
These same individuals showed drastic declines in CD4 T Cells pre and post study which are the main characteristic of the progression of HIV. They also concluded that the more meditation classes people with HIV attended, the more the higher the CD4 T cells were present at the conclusion of the study.
31.) Lessen Fibromyalgia Symptoms
A study done through the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health titled “Mindfulness Meditation Alleviates Fibromyalgia Symptoms in Women” showed a clinical titled the boasted the exact conclusion of the title. The participants were administered intervention through the likes of what is called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) which was to see what the effect would be on both psychological and physiological effects would be on patients with fibromyalgia.
Pain, perceived stress, quality of sleep, symptoms of fatigue, severity of symptoms along with salivary cortisol was all tested through a two month follow up.
The results revealed significant reductions in perceived stress, disturbance in sleep patters along with the severity of participants symptoms. Although they didn’t see any positive reductions in pain, cortisol profiles along with physical functioning.
But a great reduction was seen in major symptoms related to the symptoms of these patients.
32.) Help With Menopause
Another benefit that one can reap from meditation is a more peaceful path through the journey of menopause. A study that was done consisted of 110 late perimenopausal and early post menopausal women whom were experiencing all levels of hot flashes, moderate, severe and average levels.
33.) Help With Pregnancy
There was a study done in Bangalore India win which 335 women enrolled, all of which were between 18 and 20 weeks pregnant. They were divided in to two groups, 169 of them were put in a yoga and meditation group and the other 166 were in the control group.
The meditation and yoga group practiced one hour a day of breathing and yoga practices. The control group walked 30 minutes, twice per day during the entirety of the study. Strict maintenance of both groups was delivered with phone calls to make sure they were staying on track, along with the participants tracking their daily activities in a diary.
At the time of birth, the yoga and meditation group was shown to have birth weights of their children significantly higher than the control. Other complications were lower in the yoga and meditation group than that of the control group.
The findings of the study showed that taking an integrative approach to yoga and meditation during pregnancy is not only safe, but it also improves birth weight, lessens preterm labor and lowers pregnancy induced hypertension.
34.) Can Relieve Irritable Bowel
A great article by Harvard News talked about how there was a nine week training program in which included the elicitation of the relaxation response which showed excellent impact on those with clinical symptoms like IBS and inflammatory bowel disease as well as how inflammatory genes expressed themselves.
The study was done at the Benson Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital along with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and are the first ever to study the link between meditation and bowel disorders.
The study enrolled the likes of 48 adults. 19 of these adults had been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome and 29 with irritable bowel disease.
The study was done over a 9 week period in which the program focused on things like cognitive skills, stress reduction along with behaviors promoting health enhancement. The participants were asked to simply practice relaxation response elicitation at home for 15 to 20 minutes on top of what they did when the group met as a whole.
The group was assessed before the program started, midway thorough along with at the conclusion of the study and lastly 3 weeks after the conclusion of the study.
The follow up under all these conditions included using standardized tools for the measurement of symptoms of both disorders, assessment of both anxiety and pain along with examining their overall quality of life.
Samples of participants blood was also taken a week after the conclusion of the study to profile gene expression along with the measurement of levels of inflammation.
The participants in the meditation and mind/body group all appeared to experiencing improvement in disease related symptoms, lower levels of anxiety and heightened quality of life. Both at the conclusion of the study along with a couple weeks later.
Inflammatory makers did not show any change in either group, but as far as gene expression goes, the researchers observed that almost 200 genes showed changes in expression in those with IBS and oer 1000 in the individuals with IBD.
Many of the altered gene expressions are linked with the pathways which involve inflammation and stress response.
35.) Boost Growth Hormone
Onto the next! Meditation and it;s link with growth hormone. Which GH is secreted from our anterior pituitary and has very important roles in how much growth takes place in nearly all of our bodily tissues, metabolism along with changes in our body competition. So it is kind of a big deal, and when you can raise it, it is even more of a big deal.
There was a study done to see if yoga and meditation had an effect on raising GH levels, something known to decline as we age. The study was done by the Department of Physical Education in West Bnegal, Inida. It was labeled as a Yoga Awareness Camp which the participants were all middle aged men and woman ranging from 35 to 55 hears of age. All who belonged to the same socioeconomical background. These were active people but not acquainted with any practices related to yoga.
Testing of subjects underwent at the start of the program, 6 weeks into the program and 12 weeks after the program was completed. The assessments that were measured consisted of basal level of plasma growth (GH( along with dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS)
The study concluded that by combining yoga and meditation, of which the study included Kriya, Suryanamaskara, Asana, Pranyama and regular meditation, significantly increases an individuals basal level of GH along with DHEAS levels in the blood.
These raised numbers indicate that the person with them can enjoy healthy aging.
36.) Lower Cholesterol
TM.org offers an awesome article with some great doctors around the world referencing facts that talks about how meditation can help create better cholesterol. THe first one was from Dr. Cesar Molina, a medical director of South Asian Heart Center in Mountain View, CA who was asked the question of whether meditation can help lower cholesterol.
He referenced a study that was published in the Journal of the Israeli Medical Association where the researchers reported a significant dip in total cholesterol of those who practice transcendental meditation along with referencing research studies in which TM helps lower blood pressure as well.
Another doctor named Dr. Gary Kaplan who is a neurologist and Associate Professor of Clinical Neurology at Hofstra University School of medicine, was asked if TM can control blood sugar and lower cholesterol.
He referenced a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine done in 2006 that TM can reduced components involved in metabolic syndrome. Which is a major source of premature death and overall poor health.
These people are usually overweight or obese and have high blood pressure along with elevated sugar and triglycerides, along with low HDL cholesterol which is the good kind that needs to be higher.
This statement is huge as the a large amount of the general population is overweight and can reap these benefits by simply engaging in daily meditation.
37.) Better Skin Health
A great article titled – How Meditation May Make You Look Younger – talks about how meditation has been shown through research to aid in the reduction of stress and pain along with help you lessen your chance for heart disease along with cancer!
But as far as the link between skin and meditation, the article also discusses how stress triggers negative reactions pertaining to our skin that can cause things like acne, psoriasis, eczema and rosacea. As a result of any of these, our skin is affected which in turn lessens the ability of our skin to keep moisturized and repair itself.
Meditation is shown to ease stress along with negative thought patterns. This fact was verified by the British Journal Of Dermatology in which they noticed that people who mediated had skin diseases that were notably reduced.
They also reference as study in which meditation was shown to speed up the healing of psoriatic lesions.
The article also references a study done by Stanford in which they talks about how after two months of their participants mediating consistently, the participants were seen to be less anxious and thought more positively about how the viewed themselves. Which less stress and anxiety makes you look and feel younger!
38.) Increased Circulation
An article by Psypost.org talks about how a recent study was done in which a from of meditation called integrative body mind training (IBMT) can provide the user with significant chances in the brain after only practicing it for a few hours. The study was published in February’s Frontiers in Psychology in 2015 in which 40 chines undergraduates participated from the Dalian University of Technology.
The students were split into two experimental groups which one group was given a relaxation training program to follow. The other was given a integrative mind body training program to follow.
Each group went through 30 minutes of these exercises for a period of 5 days in a row. The group was tested both before the study started along with afterwards to measure blood flow with brain images in brain regions that have to do with emotion and mood.
The results came back with both groups enjoying significant benefits with both brain flow along with self reported mood. But the group that engaged in IBMT practices showed increased markers of both of these compared to the students who were part of the relaxation training program.
Straight from the researchers mouths were statements that said that short term IMBT improves cerebral blood flow in the insula along with the midfrontal lobe, much higher than that of the results shown with those who did relaxation training. They also stated that it works, in part, by improving self regulation.
39.) Less Sleep
Imagine a world where you had an extra 30 mintues, an hour or even 4 hours extra to do the thing you need to do on your checklist. How drastically would your life change??
An article talks about how the link between meditation and sleeping less, and references a study done by the New York Academy of Sciences talks about how the researchers concluded that Buddhist meditation styles can improve wakefullness along with less need for sleep, especially when it comes to practicing meditation on a long term basis.
Researches found out that during intensive multi day silent retreats, people sleep a lot less than the average 7-8 hours a day. Also, proficient meditators only sleep around four hours each night.
The same study also shows that people who initially start meditation go through an adjustment phase in which they can be actually more tired at first and need a bit more sleep.
Like on of the meditators they studied whom did a 3 month Tibetan sylte shamatha retreat. But as the 8th and 9th week came upon her, her sleep started to diminish from 1.5 to 3 hours of sleep less per night that she needed.
At first it creates a mental fatigue at first but after the individual adjusts, they show the need for less sleep and feel more awake throughout their day.
40.) Gym Gainz!!!
Also, if you are interested in muscle growth, not only can meditation help your gains in the gym, but it can also help you recover faster, allowing your to hit the same muscle group with more frequency, in turn pushing your volume up and allowing to to get bigger, faster!
Meditation is shown to lower cortisol levels, which when they are too high, the increase catabolism, which is when we start to use our muscles stores for energy, rather than glycogen stores.
Also when one is deeply into the muscle they are working, using the mind muscle connection, this is a form of meditation in which it puts you in the present moment. It also allows you to recruit more muscle fibers.
Which a great study was done on this by a man named Bret Contreras, also known as the Glute Guy who has his PHD in glute science. He references how a number of studies have been shown to created greater activation for people when the subjects were instructed to adopt internal focus of attention (mind muscle connection).. His studies are done through EMG experiments.
41.) Better Listener
The quieter we get, the more we can hear. Insert corny metaphor to make my point! Meditation can help you become a better listener. The more we quiet and tame inner chatter, the more in tune we can become with people. The better listeners we become because are focused is less trapped internally and more turned out to the world, allowing us to hear what people are saying and in turn communicate better and give better responses. When we learn to communicate better, our lives get better. We can create deep and more meaningful friendships, do better in interviews, romantic relationships, pretty much anything that involves human interaction.
Like we stated above, meditation helps you become more empathetic. Showing people empathy will allow you to see things from the perspective they are trying to portray. There is almost no better way of building rapport than walking in someone else’s shoes.
It will also allow you to create massive amounts of trust with people. This can help build better connections for business, as when someone trusts you, they will literally do anything for you.
42.) Make Your More Optimistic (And More Antibodies!)
A small study was done by Richard Davidson, Vilas Professor of psychology and psychiatry at UW Madison whom lead a research team which was published in an issure of the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.
The study included 25 subjects, all of who were trained in mindfulness meditation from Jon Habat-Zinn who is a author who has publicized books on stress reduction along with created a mindfulness based stress reduction program that is used at University of Massachusetts Medical Center.
The group met up though weekly classes along with attended a 7 hour retreat during the entirety of the study. Along with this, they were also assigned home practices which they were required to do for an hour a day, 6 days per week. The control group consisted of 16 people of whom were not trained with any meditation techniques until after the completion of the study.
The study’s conclusion was that the meditation group showed an increase in activation within the left side of the front region of their brains. The portion of the brain is best known for lessening anxiety and the creation of a positive state of being. Mediation created more activity in this region of the subjects brains.
The study offered more hidden gems in which they also tested if the group of meditators showed better immune function compared to the control group. Everyone in the study got a flu shot at the end of the meditation study. Each participant was examined 4 and 8 weeks after the administration of the vaccine to measure the level of antibodies in which they had produced against the flu strain that was administered.
Both groups had had higher levels of antibodies, but the group of meditators group showed a significantly higher levels of antibodies. Both when they were tested at the 4 weeks mark and the 8 week mark.
43.) Anger Management
A study was done in the journal Consciousness and Cognition which suggests that only one session of mediation can be enough to help lower your levels of anger. The study was talked about by Psychology Today which talked about it showing that just one session leveled the physical signs of anger in their study groups.
The study group consisted of 15 people who had never meditated in their lives, along with 12 experienced meditators. They measured physical responses in the group including things such as breathing rate, blood pressure and heart rate.
The monitored these levels by asking them to bring up something in their lives that made them very angry and relive that situation.
In the group that never meditated before, all of their markers were up. But only after engaging in 20 minutes of meditation, they were asked to re-experience the anger they did previously. The results came back as the people having more calmness and much more relaxed physical responses to the emotional event.
As far as the group goes who were avid meditators, those who had dozens of hours of experience with meditation, were found that they didn’t elicit a very extreme physical response when reviewing the event that brought anger to them in the past. Their markers remained the same both before and after their meditation sessions.
The study concluded that through both short term and long term meditation, one can protect both our bodies and minds from the negative aspects of stress and anger. It helps us learn to respond instead of act out.
44.) Boosts Melatonin
Melatonin is a hormone that is created in the pineal gland and is imperative for sleeping good and getting sleepy when you need to do so. A great article that talks about how meditation influences melatonin starts off with referencing Rene Discartes who referred to is as the “seat to the soul”. Also known to correspond wit the chakra that is located at the top of our heads which is believed to have an influence on our happiness levels.
The article talks about a connection made between the two in 1995 at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center’s Stress Reduction and Relaxation Program. They collected overnight samples since melatonin production is mainly done at night. The collected samples were 6-sulphatoxymelatonin which is a melatonin breakdown product which is thought to be an good reflection of the levels of melatonin in the blood.
The researchers found that women that engaged in meditation showed much higher levels in their blood then the women who did not meditate at all.
The article talks about how another study showed that those who meditate before bedtime showed higher levels of melatonin production.
45.) Better Life For Seniors
As we get older, we start to lose a lot of the things we had, physically and mentally. A great article talks about the benefits of meditation for seniors. IT goes into things like:
Better Memory – As meditation is associated with both short and long term memory, which was qouted by neuropsychologist Jean Lengenfelder.
Better Congnition – Meditation has been shown to help with the preservation of cognitive function in those who are starting to have problems with memory and cognition. It has been shown to be maintain better cognitive function in those who have incorporated meditation into their daily lives.
Studies were done in 2014 published in Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences which suggests that meditation is linked to positive aspects of cognitive function in regards to attention and memory. processing speed and executive function. All aspects that start to decline with age.
Better Circulation and Digestion – A study was found that meditation created better circulation and higher oxygen levels to the participants brain.
Lonliness – Another study was done that showed that during an 8 week program where seniors utilized mindful meditation, they showed a decrease in levels of perceived lonliness.
Conclusion To The Benefits Of Meditation
So there we are my friends, the 45 meditation benefits that we can reap when we integrate steady meditation into our lives. The great thing about it is that it only takes up a few minutes out of our day, where the benefits far outweigh the time it takes to do so. I hope you enjoyed this article and got value out of it.
Share with me what your favorite take away about the article was and if you have either any good benefits meditation helps with along with stories to share about how meditation has helped you in your life!
Peace my friends.