August 19, 2020 6 min read
Hey sunshine! Have you ever wondered why people rave about meditation? Do you think it's just a waste of time? Well, think again. People have practised meditation for thousands of years because of its many benefits. We're sure when you read the nine advantages to meditation below, you'll understand why.
Willpower is a muscle. Psychologist Dr. Walter Mischel insists self-control and delaying immediate gratification is “an acquirable cognitive skill" . How can you acquire willpower? That's right, through meditation! Meditation fortifies your dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the willpower region of your brain. Italian neuroscientists discovered meditating for just eight weeks strengthens this part of your brain and thus self-control . Whether you’re looking to work more efficiently, eat healthier, or even overcome an addiction, meditation may help you gain the willpower to achieve your goal.
Are you reading this article because you can't focus at work? We love seeing you here, but stop procrastinating and meditate! Inundated with new information from your phone, tablet, and computer, your mind races a mile a minute. Meditation gives your brain a break. Studies show meditation calms your mind and reboots your ability to focus . Repeated meditation goes a step further by providing “long-term increases in the efficiency of the executive attentional network” . This is because meditation actually rewires your brain to stop bad habits like procrastination and encourage good habits like staying focused . Next time you find yourself scrolling through Instagram at work, turn off your phone, close your eyes, and meditate! We can almost promise it’ll be more gratifying than those cute animal videos.
Lost your phone again? Rather than blasting Lizzo while you tear apart your room, try meditating! Researchers find meditation enhances memory recall for two reasons. First, meditation makes the brain more efficient. We’ve talked about how meditation rewires the brain. Scientists call this "brain network training" because it trains your brain to use the fastest networks to complete tasks . This means more energy dedicated to other parts of your brain, like memory! Second, meditation strengthens the hippocampus, the part of your brain associated with memory. Researchers at Harvard found hippocampus activity increased in those who meditated 30 minutes a day . Other studies showed similar increases in the hippocampus from even just 10 minutes of meditation a day . Together, these benefits generate more brainpower and supercharge your memory.
During these stressful times, you may be looking for a way to ease anxiety.Vegan Nutella might help temporarily, but researchers from Johns Hopkins University identified 47 credible studies that suggest meditation reduces psychological stress . They even encourage clinicians to recommend meditation to patients seeking stress relief . Why? Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University Dr. Elizabeth Hoge explains, “People with anxiety have a problem dealing with distracting thoughts that have too much power. They can’t distinguish between a problem-solving thought and a nagging worry that has no benefit” . Meditation calms the mind and allows you to compartmentalize and minimize needless worries.
Research by the South African Depression and Anxiety Group found one in six South Africans suffer from anxiety, depression, or substance abuse problems . If you suffer from these issues, you are not alone. If you need help right away, you can find free resourceshere andhere. If you’re already seeking help and want to do more, you might benefit from meditation. We’ve already covered how meditation can help with anxiety, but studies also show it helps with depression and addiction. Researchers at Harvard University hypothesize meditation rewires the brain and hinders depressive thoughts . Other studies show meditation helps individuals overcome substance abuse problems . Researchers think this is because meditation relieves stress, boosts willpower, and increases happiness. Meditation is a free, doctor-less way to help lower your risks of mental health concerns.
We all need a confidence boost sometimes. If you feel self-doubt, try meditating! Studies at the Maharishi International University show meditation produces significant increases in social self-confidence . The author ofMeditation to Go Christina Rodenbeck explains meditation improves confidence, self-control, and “inner certainty” because it quiets your mind and makes you self-aware . Discover your true self through meditation and learn to accept your body and spirit . Even icons like Oprah have articles praising meditation because it can “help you find the inner confidence you’ve had all along” . Before your next big presentation or project, try meditating to boost your confidence so you can wow the crowd.
Bears aren't the only ones who can hibernate. Meditators can too! Or, they can at least get a good night's sleep. A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that compared to a control group, middle-aged adults who meditate had less insomnia, fatigue, and even depression at the end of six sessions . Meditation relaxes your mind, easing stress and encouraging sleep. Indeed, meditation “helps to establish a body and mind harmony” . This harmony means when your mind is at rest, so is your body. So maybe you can't hibernate like a bear, but meditation can certainly help you get a full night's sleep.
If you’re struggling with writer’s block, meditation can help. Cognitive psychologists at Leiden University researched open-monitoring meditation and discovered it fosters creativity. How? Open-monitoring meditation induces “divergent thinking, a type of thinking that allows many new ideas to be generated” . This means it floods your mind with creative, fresh ideas. The Harvard Business Review found meditation fosters a culture of innovation in which people are more likely to focus, recall information, and think creatively . It's no wonder why businesses incorporate meditation into their workplaces! Whether you work alone or with others, mindful meditation might be the key to your imagination.
You read that right. Meditation makes you happier! As previously mentioned, meditation rewires your brain to help you cope with difficult and stressful situations. If you are less anxious or worried, you will be happier . Meditation also shrinks the amygdala, the fearful part of your brain . Less fear empowers you to live a happier life. Indeed, meditation enables you to "communicate better in your relationships, better cope with tricky curveballs life throws your way, and have a deeper sense of self-worth" . Understanding yourself and being comfortable in the unknown helps you become your happiest self.
Meditation is beneficial for your mind, body, and soul. Try meditating at home and let us know if you notice any other benefits to this timeless benefit.
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