30 Benefits Of Meditation

This is a guest post by Do You Meditate?

Here are 30 Benefits of Meditation, each lifted from peer-reviewed evidence presented in academic journals, highlighting some of the meditation benefits:

  1. Meditation helps keep the brain young. Participants in a meditation study who had been practicing meditation for 20 years had more grey matter (more brain cells) than those who hadn’t meditated.1
  2. Mindfulness training improves test scores. After a two week training in meditation, GRE test-takers showed a reduction in mind wandering and an increase in score equal to 16 percentile points.2
  3. Decrease your stress and increase your forgiveness of others through meditating. After 90 minutes of weekly meditation for 8 weeks, people experience more forgiveness and decreased rumination.3
  4. Enjoy music on a deeper level. After meditation, people have an increased ability to focus on music and experience a more heightened and positive listening of the music.4
  5. Meditation is better than morphine in reducing pain. After four weeks of meditation training at 20 minutes of pain, patients found that meditation decreases pain intensity by 40% and pain unpleasantness by 57% while morphine only typically reduces pain by 25%.5
  6. Become more relaxed in social situations. Researchers found that meditation increases psychological flexibility and decreases social anxiety.6
  7. Want to quit smoking? Studies show that mindfulness training is more effective than other programs at helping smokers quit and then maintaining it. In fact, two years after a study on the benefits of mediation on smoking cessation, 51% of participants still refrained from smoking compared to the 21% of those who had not taken part of the meditation practice.7
  8. Lower high blood pressure by meditating. Students formerly at-risk of hypertension witnessed a major change in blood pressure already after a few months of meditating. These changes were associated with a 52% lower risk of developing hypertension later in their life.8
  9. Another study showed that only meditation, out of efforts like biofeedback, stress management, and progressive muscle relaxation, was able to reduce blood pressure (-5/2.8 mm Hg).9
  10. Reduce your risk of serious health problems. People who meditate are 48% less likely to suffer a heart attack, stroke, or die than people with the same health conditions.10
  11. Lose weight! Meditation can help people reduce obesity-related eating behaviors, specifically binge eating, emotional eating, and external eating.11 In addition, after eight weeks of mediation, people showed increased energy metabolization, meaning the body is able to metabolize nutrients into food faster.12
  12. Get a better night’s sleep with meditation. People taking part in meditation reported an increase in sleep quality of 20%.13
  13. Feel less lonely. Studies done on elderly patients showed a remarked decrease in loneliness after eight weeks of mindfulness practice.14
  14. Meditation decreases inflammation at the molecular level. After 8 weeks of meditation training, researchers detected reduced expression of histone genes and pro-inflammatory genes in meditators.15
  15. Boost your immune system and stay healthier. Studies show that after just eight weeks of mindfulness meditation, there is a boost to the autoimmune system and brain function.16
  16. Meditation helps you multitask better. After an eight-week meditation training, workers felt less stressed multi-tasking, switched tasks less often, and remained focused on tasks longer.17
  17. Reduce stress! Meditation affects stress through reducing cortisol, an agent responsible for stress.18
  18. Feel more enjoyment and accomplishment at work. Studies show a strong relationship between meditation practice and success at work, including subjective job performance, work engagement, and job satisfaction.19
  19. Spend less time and less money at the doctor. Researchers have found that people beginning meditation or yoga use 43% fewer medical services than the previous year, saving on average of $2,360 per person in emergency visits alone. Mediation program can translate into savings of anywhere from $64 to as much as $25,500 per patient a year.20
  20. Get smarter. Tests done on students have shown that meditation increases creativity, practical intelligence, and fluid intelligence.21
  21. Meditation helps keep kids in school and stay out of trouble. Other benefits of meditation for students include lower absenteeism and a decrease in rule infractions.22
  22. Have more positive emotions. Meditators are able to produce five times more gamma brainwaves, which are associated with happiness and positive emotions.23
  23. Be happier in your relationship with your significant other through meditation. In a study, women who meditate to have higher marital satisfaction than women who don’t.24
  24. Pregnancy can be better through meditation. Studies say that mindfulness practices reduce the chance that women can get depressed during or after pregnancy.25
  25. Meditation makes you stronger against pain. As compared to non-mediators, practitioners of meditation began to feel thermal pain at higher temperatures.26
  26. Meditation helps with rapid memory recall and the ability to incorporate new facts. After just 8 weeks of mediating, new meditators showed a marked change in their daily brain function.27
  27. After only four sessions, new meditators were able to have higher executive brain functioning and visuals-spatial processing.28
  28. Meditation helps you prepare for stressful events. If meditation is done right before the occurence, the stress of the event is substantially minimalized.29
  29. Meditation helps decrease racial and age bias. In a study, only 10 minutes of meditation decreased pre-conceptions about others and reduced bias against other groups.30

  30. 1 Luders, E, Cherbuin, N, and Kurth, F. (2013). Forever Young(er): potential age-defying effects of long-term meditation on gray matter atrophy. Frontiers in Psychology 5(4):1551

    2 Mrazek, M., Franklin, M.S., Phillips, D.T., Baird, B., and Schooler, J.W. (2013). Mindfulness Training Improves Working Memory Capacity and GRE Performance While Reducing Mind Wandering. Pyschological Science 24(5)

    3 Oman D, Shapiro S.L, Thoresen, C.E, Plante, T.G, and Flinders, T.(2008). Meditation lowers stress and supports forgiveness among college students: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of American College Health 56(5):569-78

    4 Diaz, F. (2011). Mindfulness, attention, and flow during music listening: An empirical investigation. Psychology of Music 41(1)

    5 Zeidan,F., Martucci, K.T., Kraft, R.A., Gordon, N.S, McHaffie,G. and Coghill, R.C. (2011). Brain Mechanisms Supporting the Modulation of Pain by Mindfulness Meditation. The Journal of Neuroscience. 31 (14) 5540-5548.

    6 Goldin, P., Ziv M., Jazaieri, H., Hahn, K., and Gross, J.J. (2013). MBSR vs aerobic exercise in social anxiety: fMRI of emotion regulation of negative self-beliefs. Social Cognitve and Affective Neurosciences. 8(1): 65–72.

    7 Royer, A. (1994). The role of the Transcendental Meditation technique in promoting smoking cessation: A longitudinal study. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 11(1-2)

    8 Nidich.,S.I, Rainforth, M.V., Haaga DA, Hagelin J, Salerno JW, Travis F, Tanner M, Gaylord-King C, Grosswald S, and Schneider R.H. (2009). A randomized controlled trial on effects of the Transcendental Meditation program on blood pressure, psychological distress, and coping in young adults. American Journal of Hypertension. 22(12):1326-31

    9 Maxwell, V., Rainforth, R. H., Schneider, S.I., Nidich, C., Gaylord-King, J., and Anderson, J.W. (2007). Stress Reduction Programs in Patients with Elevated Blood Pressure: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Current Hypertension Report 9(6): 520–528.

    10 Kotchen, T., Salerno, J.W.; Grim, C.E., Sanford I., Nidich, S.I., Kotchen, J.M, Rainforth, M.,V..; Carolyn Gaylord-King, Ph.D.; and Charles N. Alexander, Stress Reduction in the Secondary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease.,controlled trial of transcendental meditation and health education in Blacka. Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.5(6):750-8

    11 O’Reilly, G.A., Cook, L., Spruijt-Metz, D., and Black. D.S. (2014). Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Obesity-Related Eating Behaviors: A Literature Review. Obesity Review doi: 10.1111/obr.12156.

    12 Bhasin, M,K., Dusek,J.A., Chang, B.H., Joseph,M.G., Denninger, J.W., Fricchione, G.L., Benson, H., and Libermann, T.A. (2013). Relaxation Response Induces Temporal Transcriptome Changes in Energy Metabolism, Insulin Secretion and Inflammatory Pathways. Plos One 8(5): e62817.

    13 Gelles, D. (2015). At Aetna, a CEO’s Management by Mantra. The New York Times.

    14 Creswell, JD., Irwin. M.R., Burklund, L.J., Lieberman, MD., Arevalo, J.M., Ma. J., Breen. EC., and Cole, S.W. (2012). Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction training reduces loneliness and pro-inflammatory gene expression in older adults: A small randomized controlled trial. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity 26(7):1095-101.

    15 Rosenkranz, M.A., Davidson, R.J., MacCoon, S, Kaline, N.H., and Lutz, A. (2013). A comparison of mindfulness-based stress reduction and an active control in modulation of neurogenic inflammation. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity 27.

    16Davidson, R. J., Kabat‐Zinn, J., Schumacher, J., Rosenkranz, M., Muller, D., Santorelli, S. F. , Urbanowski, F., Harrington, A., Bonus, K., and Sheridan, J.F. (2012). Alterations in Brain and Immune Function. Produced by Mindfulness Meditation.

    17Levy, D., Wobbrock, J., Kaszniak, K., and Ostrgen, M. (2011). Initial results from a study of the effects of meditation on multitasking performance. Published in Proceeding CHI EA ’11 CHI ’11 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp 2011-2016

    18Sudsuang, R., Chentanez, V, and Veluvan, K. (1991). Effect of Buddhist meditation on serum cortisol and total protein levels, blood pressure, pulse rate, lung volume, and reaction time. Physiology and Behavior. 50 (3)

    19Shiba, K, Nishimoto, M, Sugimoto, M, and Ishikawa, Y. (2015).The Association between Meditation Practice and Job Performance: A Cross-Sectional Study. PloS One 10(5): e0128287

    20 Stahl, J., Dossett, M., LaJoie, A.S., Denninger, J., Mehta,D.H., Goldman, R., Frichionne, G, and Benson, H. (2015). Relaxation response and Resiliency training and its effects on Healthcare Resource utilization. PlosOne 10(10) doi :10.1371/journal.pone.01402.

    21 So, K-T., and Orme-Johnson, D. (2001). Three randomized experiments on the longitudinal effects of Transcendental Meditation technique on cognition. Intelligence 29, 419-440.

    22 Barnes, V., Bauza, L., and Treiber, F. (2003). Impact of Stress reduction on negative school behavior in adolescents. Health Quality and Life Outcomes. Doi 10.1186/1477-7525-1-10.

    23 Rubik, V. (2011). Neurofeedback-Enhanced Gamma Brainwaves from the Prefrontal Cortical Region of Meditators and Non-Meditators and Associated Subjective Experiences. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2: 109-115

    24 Aaron, E. and Aaron, A. (1994). Transcendental Meditation Program and Marital Adjustment Sage Publications 51(3).

    25 Dimidjian S, Goodman SH, Felder JN, Gallop R, Brown AP, and Beck A. (2015). An open trial of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for the prevention of perinatal depressive relapse/recurrence.Archives of Women’s Mental Health Health 18(1):85-94

    26 Grant, J. , Courtmanche, J., Duerden, E., Duncan, G., and Rainville, P.(2010). Cortical Thickness and Pain Sensitivity in Zen Meditators. Emotion 10(1).Retrieved from here

    27 Peterson, T. (2011). Meditation’s Effects on Emotion Shown to Persist. Psych Central

    28 Kerr, C., Jones, S., Wan, Q., Pritchett, D., Wasserman, R., Wexler, A., Villanueva, J., Shaw, J., Lazar, S., Kaptchuk, T., Littenburg, R., Hamalainen, M., and Moore, C. (2011). Effects of mindfulness meditation training on anticipatory alpha modulation in primary somatosensory cortex. Brain Research Bulletin

    29 Zeiden, F., Johnson, S.J., Diamond, B., and (2010). Mindfulness Meditation improves cognition. Cognition and Consciousness 19,(2)

    30 Mohan,A., Sharma, R., and Bijlani, R.L.. (2011). Effect of Medication on Stress-Induced changes in cognitive functions. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 17 (3)

    Photo credit: Labyrinth of Light by Tavis Ford

One thought on “30 Benefits Of Meditation

  1. “Non-attachment” is a Western attempt to translate a specific meditation term for which there is no exact corollary. Non-attachment is nonjudgmental awareness that borders on pure objectivity. Put another way, non-attachment minimizes subjectivity. It is different from detachment, which is active disengagement from something. Non-attachment is similar to readiness. Hopefully, as investment professionals, we understand the benefit of minimizing subjectivity as we each strive to see the world for what it is, rather than what we prefer it to be. Sant Kirpal Singh .


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