Meditation has attracted the attention of researchers for decades; thousands of scientific studies have been done on this ancient practice over time.
The list of its benefits seems to be growing every day, and meditation has never been so popular!
But let’s try to see together the essential with its 6 main advantages.
Table of Contents
1) MEDITATION “PHYSICALLY” MODIFIES YOUR BRAIN
A 2011 Harvard study by Dr Sarah Lazar found that 9 weeks of meditation is enough to increase brain size in 3 different crucial places:
left hippocampus: where do our abilities to learn and retain information come from?
posterior cingulate cortex: which helps us remember and orient ourselves topographically
temporo-parietal junction: area where empathy and compassion resides
Also after 8 weeks of meditation, there was a decrease in cells in the tonsillar complex, the region of the brain that “makes” fear, stress and anxiety.
Bottom Line: Through meditation, we are able to shape areas of our brain and “reprogram” them to improve positive traits like focus and decision making and decrease less positive ones like brainpower. fear and stress. Beyond that, it means that it is possible to change our brains for the better in a sustainable way. Meditation modifies and strengthens the brain, it is the equivalent of a weight training session for the brain!
2) REDUCES “BAD FEELINGS”
Stress in small amounts is not that much of a problem, in some cases stress can even be healthy.
However, most people stress too much, which can be bad and lead to a lot of health problems of varying severity. Indeed, mental and physical stress causes an increase in the levels of cortisol (stress hormone) which can disrupt sleep, promote depression and anxiety, increase blood pressure, among others.
A 2004 study found that meditation could help:
better manage stress
drastically reduce the negative effects of stress
A study of nearly 1,300 adults has shown that meditation can reduce stress, this effect being particularly marked in people with the highest levels of stress.
A recent 2016 study by Professor Willem Kuyken concluded that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy appears to be effective as a treatment for relapse prevention in people with recurrent depression, especially those with more pronounced residual symptoms.
A similar 2014 study by Elisabeth Hoge conducted on people with anxiety, concluding that meditating for eight weeks has the ability to reduce these anxiety symptoms.
And if all of these studies can’t convince you that meditation is good for fighting negative feelings, a meta-analysis published on JAMA looked at 19,000 studies on meditation, finding that it helps reduce anxiety and depression.
You do not make your nights?
At the same time, it seems that meditation helps you sleep better.
In one study, subjects were divided into two groups, one taught mindfulness meditation and the other not. Participants who meditated fell asleep earlier and stayed asleep longer than those who did not meditate.
It seems that practicing meditation on a regular basis helps control or reorient thoughts that often lead to insomnia. Plus, it can help relax your body, release tension, and put you in the best possible position to fall asleep.
Useful when you know that a lack of sleep can generate stress …
3) MEDITATION HELPS GET AWAY OF BAD HABITS
The dorsolateral frontal cortex is the part of the brain responsible for willpower, and a 2015 study concluded that meditation helps develop this part of the human brain!
Another 2014 study conducted by Sarah Bower aimed to separate alcoholics into two groups: a group who have been taught mindfulness meditation another that we have immersed in a classic 12-step weaning program.
After one year, 8% of participants in the first group returned to alcohol levels compared to 20% in the second group.
Meditation is like a workout for the brain, as you train it; you will strengthen your willpower and your ability to make the things that you really want deep down inside you happen. Observe that diligent meditation practitioners, after adopting this practice, have the urge to make other healthy changes in their lives (successfully), such as losing weight or eating better.
4) MEDITATION IMPROVE YOUR CONCENTRATION
A 2010 study conducted by Dr. Catherine MacLean of the University of California asked participants to analyze lines of text in order to find the differences. The kind of strenuous and boring work that could possibly be. Dr found that the group that had been subjected to meditation classes did better on the analytical exam than the other, suggesting that meditation has power. improve concentration.
Another study this time from Washington came to the same conclusion, realizing that meditation has the power to allow workers to focus longer on a task.
A very simple little example from everyday life: maybe you’re the type who can’t read more than two pages of a book without subconsciously taking your attention away from the story and realizing 10 minutes later that you’ve completely lost focus. wire! Through meditation, you might be able to read entire chapters without getting distracted by your thoughts.
5) COULD WELL IMPROVE LONGEVITY
A California study of seniors found that meditation significantly reduced the amount of c-reactive protein, a protein that directly correlates with the risk of developing heart disease. The same study also found that meditation reduced inflammation in the body.
Another study conducted in Boston on patients with hypertension showed that 3 months of meditation was enough to lower their blood pressure.
Does living longer turn you on?
But the most incredible results are undoubtedly attributed to this study conducted in 2010 by Elizabet BlackBurn (Nobel Prize anyway). She has shown that meditation affects the body at a genetic level, which may protect the length of telomeres. For those who don’t know, telomeres are found on chromosomes and are a direct indicator of aging. Indeed, during our life, our cells reproduce, and with each cell division, our telomeres shorten. In an elderly organism, the length of the telomeres is very shortened …
In other words, meditation slows down the aging process!
6) MEDITATION MAKES (MORE) HAPPY
In a 2004 study, Dr. Richard Davidson placed electrodes on the heads of monks who had been practicing meditation for several years. He then noticed, not without amazement, that the monks had 30 times the normal levels of gamma brain waves, to which notions such as:
Another 2008 study published by Professor Barbara Fredrickson concluded that the practice of daily meditation provides a sense of well-being and positive emotions that increase continuously as one engages in it.
Certain types of meditation can especially increase positive feelings and actions towards yourself and others. “Metta” is a form of meditation also known as “loving-kindness meditation”, and it begins with developing kind thoughts and feelings towards yourself. Through its practice, people learn to impart this kindness and forgiveness from the inside out, first to their friends, then to their acquaintances, and finally to their enemies.
A meta-analysis of twenty studies on this form of meditation has shown its ability to increase people’s compassion for themselves and others. This form of meditation has also been shown to be effective in improving anxiety, reducing marital conflict, and helping with anger management.
Remember all those little joys you had as a child, those little excitement at the idea of … not much after all? Meditation can restore that positive state of mind to you. The kind of mindset that lets you sit on a bench in a park and marvel at how beautiful your surroundings are, with ease.
In view of all these benefits, it is not surprising to learn that most of the big names in this world associated with success (CEOs, athletes, entrepreneurs, etc.) are passionate about meditation
Be careful, however, meditation is a difficult habit to adopt, you will have to be very, very regular to be able to benefit from its benefits. But if you take the fold and manage to make meditation a daily practice, you will be able to boost your will level and learn other good habits more easily. Meditation can have a real domino effect on your whole life!