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4 Things Meditation Does To Your Mind And Body

4 Things Meditation Does To Your Mind And Body

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Featured photo credit: Sebastien Wiertz via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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