Still deciding whether to commit to meditation? Well, reading this should help make that decision.
Until you’ve experienced first-hand the benefits of a regular meditation practice, it can be difficult to commit to the routine. In fact, initially, you may not even fully understand why you should spend time crossed-legged and alone with yourself every day.
Here, we will show you in detail why you should meditate. Science is now able to position meditation as one of the most positive activities you can do to improve intelligence, health and happiness. Here are the facts:
1. Meditation lowers stress
All of us are affected by stress in some way. Finding mechanisms and systems to cope with and control stress is critical to our health and happiness. Meditation’s impact on stress is widely documented. In one study, researchers evaluated the effects of two separate types of meditation performed daily for eight weeks. The groups that meditated not only reported lower levels of stress but also increased levels of forgiveness and acceptance, and decreased time spent procrastinating.
2. Meditation literally changes the brain
Several studies have demonstrated that meditation changes the brain, literally. Over time, daily meditation is associated with increased grey matter density in the brain stem and increased cortical thickness.
3. Meditation calms you down
Traits of a great leader include coping under pressure and assessing and responding to difficult situations. Meditation can enhance these skills by lowering cortisol and helping you to focus, deal with difficulty and control your reactions in challenging situations.
4. Meditation makes music sound better and food taste finer
Meditation amplifies the senses, allowing you to savour food and better absorb music. When we relax we are able to better focus on the things we are experiencing – and nothing facilitates relaxation like meditation. Aside from the pleasure, enjoying food mindfully can help reduce mindless eating, which can assist with weight loss.
5. Meditation helps with mental focus
Focus is a rare quality in today’s world, where everything seems to move so fast and we are surrounded by simple, easy to digest information. Yet, it is real focus that is required to create ground-breaking work and achieve personal success.
In numerous papers, meditation has been shown to increase performance in cognitive memory tests. Think of it this way: You will get home faster if there are no cars on the road than you will during peak hour.
6. Meditation will help improve memory
Meditation acts as a protective force for the brain’s neural activities and thereby helps to reduce memory loss.
7. Meditation will help improve performance
In his book Tools of Titans, Tim Ferriss breaks down the habits of 200 top performers, including actors, chess prodigies, politicians and sports stars. Among these top performers, he found that 80% had some daily form of mindfulness or meditation practice.
Meditation can help you boost your confidence and concentration – both precious commodities – and this can dramatically improve your performance, whatever your chosen field.
8. Meditation will boost immunity
Stress and negative thinking can have a detrimental effect on our immune system, creating an environment that is increasingly susceptible to illness and disease. At a base level, improving our emotional regulation through meditation can support our immune system.
Deepak Chopra argues that a meditative mind is capable of so much more – even of creating the cancer-fighting molecule interleukin-2. Research also indicates that mindfulness meditation increases activity in areas of the brain that act as our immune system’s command centre. A study at UCLA revealed that T-cells (or the immune system’s ‘brains’) increased in those who practised meditation for 30 minutes.
While research is still in its infancy there are many new discoveries emerging that continue to prove the benefits of mindful meditation.