THE BENEFITS OF MEDITATIONS
In addition, Lazar’s study found that the amygdala, the part of the brain associated with stress and anxiety, shrank in the participants who practiced meditation.
2. Boost your Immune System
People who meditate regularly tend to be healthier, physically, because their immune systems are stronger. In the study Alterations in Brain and Immune Function Produced by Mindfulness Meditation, researchers evaluated two groups of participants. One group engaged in a structured, eight-week mindfulness meditation program, and the other did not. At the end of the program, all participants were given a flu vaccine. The people who practiced meditation for eight weeks showed a significant increase in antibodies to the vaccine, while those who had not meditated did not experience this. The study concluded that meditation can indeed change brain functions and the immune system, and recommended further research.
3. Reduce Pain
Believe it or not, people who meditate experience lower levels of pain than those who don’t. A study published in 2011 looked at the MRI results of patients who were, with their consent, exposed to different types of pain stimuli. Patients who had participated in a meditation training program responded differently to pain; they had a higher tolerance for pain stimuli, and were more relaxed when responding to pain. Ultimately, the researchers concluded:
In 2013, Stanford University researchers conducted a study on compassion cultivation training, or CCT, and how it impacted participants. After a nine-week CCT program, which included mediations derived from Tibetan Buddhist practice, they discovered that participants were:
In other words, the more compassionate and mindful you are towards others, the less likely you are to fly off the handle when someone upsets you.
5. Decrease Depresssion
Although many people take anti-depressants and should continue to do so, there are some who are finding that meditation helps with depression. A sample group of participants with various mood disorders was studied before and after mindfulness meditation training, and researchers found that such practice “primarily leads to decreases in ruminative thinking, even after controlling for reductions in affective symptoms and dysfunctional beliefs.”
6. Become A Better Multi-Tasker
Ever feel like you can't get everything done? Meditation might help you with that. A study on the effects of meditation on productivity and multitasking showed that "attention-training through meditation improves aspects of multitasking behavior." The study asked participants to do an eight-week session of either mindfulness meditation or body relaxation training. They were then given a series of tasks to complete. Researchers found that mindfulness improved not only how well people paid attention, but also their memory capabilities, and the speed at which they finished their tasks.
7. Be More Creative
Our neocortex is the part of our brain that drives creativity and insight. In a 2012 report, a research team from the Netherlands concluded that: