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When you think of meditation, you may think the practice is too good to be true. However, meditating is more than just sitting in a quiet room and listening to relaxing music or nature sounds. Meditation has the power to change the way you think and process your feelings. There is scientific research to support these claims. So, if you’re considering meditation, here are five reasons you should give it a try.
Meditating Lowers Stress Levels and Reduces Anxiety
One of the most popular benefits of meditation is that it reduces anxiety and stress. People who meditate regularly can also reduce or alleviate panic episodes. Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worchester studies more than 20 participants and discovered that meditation reduces depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. Long-term meditation can keep these conditions at bay for months or years at a time.
In 2014, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) also studied more than 3,500 patients in 47 clinical trials. The NIH found that there was a “moderate” improvement in the reduction of anxiety, depression, and stress. Only three of the participants said they didn’t feel or see a difference.
Richard J. Davidson, Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison also concluded that meditating changes the makeup of the brain. Davidson asserts that meditation changes the brain’s neuroplasticity and the way in which the brain sends signals to the body. Meditation can also reduce the density in the parts of the brain that are responsible for anxiety and stress.
Meditation Makes Your More Emphatic
If you find that it’s difficult to be compassionate and understanding toward others, meditating can help you exhibit more empathy. Davidson discovered during his meditation study that meditating can affect the sections of the brain that control empathy and emotional responses. This allows you to better understand other people’s points of view and feel more socially connected.
Meditating Can Make You More Creative
If you think about it, when your creative juices are flowing, you are likely mentally calm and feel inspired. You don’t notice distractions and you want to open your mind to see a creative project from several vantage points. Dr. Danny Penman, author of Mindfulness for Creativity, states that mindfulness meditation can improve three skills that are essential for creativity: divergent thinking, courage despite criticism, and attention to new concepts and details.
A Leiden University research group found that specific techniques for meditation can improve your ability to be creative and affect the way you process new information. Whether you’ve been meditating for years or you’re a rookie, the positive benefits are the same.
Meditation Improves Your Work Performance
Studies show that workplace meditation leads to better performance. Some of the world’s top companies, including Apple, Microsoft, and Google, offer these programs to make their employees more productive.
Darren J. Good, Ph.D., a Pepperdine University professor, compiled several studies and created Contemplating Mindfulness at Work. In the compilation, Dr. Good and his colleagues found substantial support that meditation can improve the way employees relate to each other and focus on their work. Meditation also boosts mental clarity.
Meditation Improves Intimacy
Meditation can not only improve your mental state, it can make your sex life better as well. A 2015 MindBodyGreen.com article by Emily Fletcher states that meditation helps you get more rest so you’ll have more energy and decreases stress, which leads to a more fulfilling intimate experience.
A Brown University study that involved 44 people explored sexual dysfunction in females. The study uncovered that mindfulness meditation significantly improved three factors that often impact a woman’s libido: clinical symptoms, attention, and self-judgment. The study asserts that women who were experiencing sexual dysfunction had definite improvement due to meditation. Even though the study was focused on women, men may have similar results.
Dr. Herbert Benson’s Relaxation Response study explores the impact that transcendental meditation has on the body in all facets of human life. Benson discovered that meditation is an effective way to bring out the relaxation response in the body, which increases comfort and confidence.
These are a few reasons why meditation should become an important part of your daily routine. When you notice that you feel better and are able to think clearer, you’ll likely want to meditate as soon as you wake up, so you can enjoy the benefits of a calm mind and body throughout the day.