Science has some compelling evidence that shows meditation can have some profoundly useful effects on some of the important areas of your life, including mind and soul. It could actually save one’s life.
1. Your Brainpower Will Be Boosted
Studies at UCLA showed that people who meditate have more ‘folding’ of the brain’s cortex, which is believed to promote and enhance neural processing. And the longer you meditate, the more the brain develops in this way, researchers at UCLA revealed. Long-term meditation could, therefore, make you improve your decision-making and increase your concentration.
The research suggested that meditation was also likely to help with better judgement, emotional control, self-regulation and even pain control. And for those who are into self-improvement, meditation could also help you become kinder and more compassionate.
2. You’ll Have A Healthier Heart
Studies have consistently shown that people who meditate have better heart health, and now there is proof that meditation could cut the risk of death from cardiovascular problems by almost half.
A study at the Maharishi University of Management showed that people who had heart disease were 48 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack, stroke or death if they practiced Transcendental Meditation. And over the course of five years, those who meditated were also a 25 percent less likely to have to be hospitalized because of their condition.
Compared to the control group, who were simply given information about heart-healthy exercise and diet, those who meditated achieved an astonishing 4.9 mmHg drop in blood pressure, and also reported feeling less angry.
3. You’ll Become More Productive
Researchers at the Universities of Washington and Arizona conducted another study, and found that eight weeks of Mindfulness Meditation training enabled managers to multi-task without feeling as much stress or fatigue. In the same study, other workers were given either no training or instruction on how to relax the body, and neither of these groups felt as calm or as energized as the Mindfulness meditators did after demanding tasks.
More benefits that the meditators experienced included a better memory for details, and they were less likely to stop and start tasks, preferring to focus all their attention on a particular duty until.
4. You’ll Be More Resourceful
Speaking of personal development, certain types of meditation have also been found to help improve problem-solving in specific ways. Researchers at Leiden University carried out a study comparing two types of meditation to see how they improved the meditaters’ ability to come up with solutions.
People who were asked to practice Open-Monitoring Meditation, whereby you allow yourself to be open to all internal and external sensations, showed a dramatic improvement in divergent thinking. This meant they were better at brainstorming, coming up with novel solutions and thinking ‘outside of the box.’
The other group of people were asked to practice Focused-Attention Meditation, which involves concentrating exclusively on one object or sensation, such as the breath. The Focus-Attention Meditation group showed a slight improvement in convergent thinking and performed better on tests that rely on speed, accuracy and logic.
Meditation Is All-Good
And if the life-saving, stress-reducing, brain-boosting, mind-training benefits of meditation are not enough for you, the University of Leiden study showed that no matter which meditation participants did, they reported an improved mood.
Featured photo credit: Sebastien Wiertz via flickr.com