4 Benefits of Meditation Backed-up by Research
Meditation is an ancient practice that has many practical benefits, even in today’s world. As this method gains popularity in the Western World, new studies have explored how meditation can improve overall wellness.
Here are four benefits of meditation backed-up by research:
Meditation helps reduce stress and anxiety.
Everyone experiences stress in some capacity, whether this is a minor or more severe experience. Meditation has been suggested to relieve some of this stress or anxiety over time. Specifically, it has been shown to aid in reducing stress-related to work (1). This study gave individuals access to meditation resources through their phones. Similar practices could be easily used in your routine at home to achieve your goals!
Additionally, Symptoms of General Anxiety Disorder and Depression have also been shown to improve with meditation in combination with other therapies (2, 3, 4).
2. Meditation enhances self-awareness and emotional health.
Overall, mindful meditation may help reduce your negative thoughts to help promote positive thought processes. Reduced negativity has been observed to occur in individuals who improve mindfulness through meditation (5).
Additionally, self-inquiry meditation helps gain self-knowledge to improve self-control, enhance self-growth, and establish how you relate to others. This practice has been shown to reduce loneliness, increase social contact and accept present experiences (6).
Using this time to reflect on past and present experiences can help you acknowledge self-conflict to gain perspective and enhance self-development.
3. Meditation lengthens attention span.
Even brief meditation could help improve attention during present tasks and control attention in the presence of distractors (7, 8).
4. Meditation helps control pain.
Specifically, mindful meditation may help improve pain. Evidence has shown promise for those dealing with general pain (9), pain from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (10) and Fibromyalgia (11).
Overall, adding the intentional practice of meditation into your lifestyle can help you reach your personal goals in 2021. By understanding the aims you hope to achieve with this practice, you can find the right type of mediation that works for you. Techniques could include mindfulness, self-inquiry, spirituality, movement and many other types of meditation. Finally, both short and long-duration meditation practices have been shown to have similar benefits for those whose goals are to decrease negative thoughts, enhance attention, improve working memory, or reduce stress or anxiety (12). Therefore, those with busy schedules can still work towards bettering themselves through this practice!
Bostock, S., Crosswell, A. D., Prather, A. A., & Steptoe, A. (2019). Mindfulness on-the-go: Effects of a mindfulness meditation app on work stress and well-being. Journal of occupational health psychology, 24(1), 127.
Orme-Johnson, D. W., & Barnes, V. A. (2014). Effects of the transcendental meditation technique on trait anxiety: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 20(5), 330-341.
Goyal, M., Singh, S., Sibinga, E. M., Gould, N. F., Rowland-Seymour, A., Sharma, R., ... & Haythornthwaite, J. A. (2014). Meditation programs for psychological stress and well-being: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA internal medicine, 174(3), 357-368.
Cheryl, M., Karen, L. O. C., Nilani, L. S., Melissa, A. B., Gabriel, B. A., & Marissa, D. C. (2017). Mindful meditation for individuals with asthma and anxiety: Promising results from a multiple baseline study. Journal of Yoga & Physical Therapy, 7, 262.
Kiken, L. G., & Shook, N. J. (2014). Does mindfulness attenuate thoughts emphasizing negativity, but not positivity?. Journal of research in personality, 53, 22-30.
Lindsay, E. K., Young, S., Brown, K. W., Smyth, J. M., & Creswell, J. D. (2019). Mindfulness training reduces loneliness and increases social contact in a randomized controlled trial. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(9), 3488-3493.
Norris, C. J., Creem, D., Hendler, R., & Kober, H. (2018). Brief mindfulness meditation improves attention in novices: Evidence from ERPs and moderation by neuroticism. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 12, 315.
Tsai, S. Y., Jaiswal, S., Chang, C. F., Liang, W. K., Muggleton, N. G., & Juan, C. H. (2018). Meditation effects on the control of involuntary contingent reorienting revealed with electroencephalographic and behavioral evidence. Frontiers in integrative neuroscience, 12, 17.
Hilton, L., Hempel, S., Ewing, B. A., Apaydin, E., Xenakis, L., Newberry, S., ... & Maglione, M. A. (2017). Mindfulness meditation for chronic pain: systematic review and meta-analysis. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 51(2), 199-213.
Cearley, S. M., Immaneni, S., & Shankar, P. (2017). Irritable Bowel Syndrome: The effect of FODMAPs and meditation on pain management. European Journal of Integrative Medicine, 12, 117-121.
Aman, M. M., Yong, R. J., Kaye, A. D., & Urman, R. D. (2018). Evidence-based non-pharmacological therapies for fibromyalgia. Current pain and headache reports, 22(5), 1-5.
Basso, J. C., McHale, A., Ende, V., Oberlin, D. J., & Suzuki, W. A. (2019). Brief, daily meditation enhances attention, memory, mood, and emotional regulation in non-experienced meditators. Behavioural brain research, 356, 208-220.