Meditation is a scientifically validated practice! It offers many benefits. Meditation reduces stress. Stress is on the rise – as if we didn’t know this – and is something we deal with all the time on various levels. Stress levels are increasing – look at the number of anti-anxiety medications being prescribed!
Meditation helps us permanently regulate emotions in the brain. Meditating increases our self-awareness and helps calm us down. It helps to make us happier – brain signaling increases in the left prefrontal cortex, an area which is associated with positive emotion. At the same time, activity decreases on the right side, where negative emotions are found. Meditation can increase our ability to accept things, like having a disease.
Meditation can help slow aging. Those who meditate have more brain cells, and longer telomeres, the caps on the chromosomes associated with age. Meditation helps us relax, which can help lower blood pressure. In a study conducted with 40-60 people taking blood pressure medication, they were able to stop taking medication while meditating.
Meditation helps improve attention and concentration. In one study, after two weeks of meditation training, participants taking the GRE (graduate record exam) enjoyed 16% better scores than those who did not train. Do you have adult ADHD? Try meditating and see if it helps!
Meditation can help recovering persons trying to beat addiction. In another study, participants who learned mindfulness training and were trying to quit smoking were more likely to have quit than those without the training, and after 17 weeks were still tobacco free. Mindfulness based cognitive training (MBCT), coupled with general mindfulness training and mindfulness-based relapse prevention (MBRP), can be effective with other types of addiction.
If you are on the fence about whether types of meditation can work for you, read the research. Some types of meditation are yoga, Kundalini yoga, guided visualization, Qi Gong, transcendental meditation, mindfulness, and more. You can download free apps on your phone, and see what 5 to 10 minutes of meditation per day can do for you. Try it – you might like it!
Dr. Donna Poppendieck (Dr. P) has over 30 years of experience in the mental health care field. She is a seasoned college professor and instructor for providers. She uses credible, proven holistic health strategies in instruction for parents of children with mental health challenges looking for another approach as well as healthcare providers seeking to implement or understand holistic strategies.