Many benefits of meditation are already in the mouth of the people. We generally associate meditation with a sense of calm, tranquility, lightness, and inner peace.
These associations are correct, and science has sought to confirm and find more benefits promoted by practice. These are positive effects on well-being, body, and mental health.
Stay until the end of this article to check out our infographic on the benefits of meditation. You will like it!
1. Decrease stress
The role of meditation is to help the practitioner deal with stress without escaping the pain and suffering of some situations, explained Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., and director of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center to Psichology Today magazine :
“Stress is the answer to the demands placed on the body and the mind. The more distressed you are with pain or anxiety, the worse you will feel and have physiological consequences. ”
“If you can learn to feel comfortable within pain or anxiety, the experience will be completely changed. You are not trying to make the pain go away. ”
“This is a fundamental point that people sometimes don’t understand at first.”
“They think we are going to make all their stress go away. But in reality, we move into stress or pain and start looking at it, to notice the reaction of the mind and to let go of that reactivity. ”
“And then you discover that there is an inner stillness and peace within some of the most difficult life situations. You don’t have to run to get somewhere else. ”
2. Meditation helps in multitasking activities in a stressful environment
Multitasking can be challenging, and the study by researchers at the University of Washington assessed the effects of meditation on workers’ multitasking behavior in a high stress environment.
Three groups of 12 to 15 people were tested as follows:
- Group A underwent 8 weeks of mindfulness meditation training.
- Group B (the control group) waited for a waiting period and then participated in the same 8-week meditation training.
- Group C applied 8 weeks of body relaxation training.
To determine the effect of meditation training , the researchers tested participants with common multitasking skills in a typical office.
They would have to act like a new employee and perform tasks, in addition to talking to other employees.
Among the tasks:
- Schedule a meeting (find a time when all fictional employees are available);
- Find a free conference room once they have identified the time of the meeting;
- Write a proposal for a meeting announcement;
- Eat a small variety of snacks and drink water;
- Write a memo proposing a creative item for the meeting’s agenda.
All of that information was sent in a flood of emails, instant messages, phone calls and knocking on the door. And to add even more pressure , the completion time was 20 minutes.
Can you imagine yourself in such an environment? The results were obtained in four primary areas: multitasking performance, memory, emotional state and attention.
The researchers noted that only Group A who trained meditation remained on long tasks and made fewer interruptions in activities, compared with the other two groups. In addition to reporting less negative emotions after the experiment.
On the other hand, both meditation and relaxation groups showed improved memory in the tasks they applied.
3. Improves immune function
The study “ Changes in the brain and immune function produced by Meditation Mindfulness ” evaluated the effects of this practice in an 8-week clinical training program applied to healthy professionals.
Brain activity was measured before and immediately after meditation and then 4 months after the 8-week Mindfulness meditation program.
Soon after, both participants in the meditation group and the control group on a waiting list were vaccinated against influenza.
The researchers reported that there was a significant increase in antibodies in response to the vaccine in the participants who meditated compared to the control group.
They conclude that their findings demonstrate that a short Mindfulness meditation program has positive effects on the brain and immune function .
4. Reduces the likelihood of depression-related symptoms in adolescents
This study focuses on the application of Mindfulness meditation at school , which reduces the likelihood of depression- related symptoms in adolescents .
Four hundred students from five schools in Flanders, Belgium aged 13 and 20 years old were evaluated divided into a test and a control group.
The test group received meditation training and the control group did not. Before the study, both groups answered questionnaires with questions indicating symptoms of depression, stress and anxiety.
They even completed the questionnaire again as soon as they did the training and a third time six months later.
Before meditation training, the test group reported evidence of depression in 21% and the control group 24%.
Right after training, 15% in the test group and 27% in the control group. Six months later, an average of 16% in the test group and 31% in the control group.
For the researchers, the results show that meditation not only decreases symptoms associated with depression , but also protects against its development later.
5. Help with sleep quality
The effect of meditation on sleep quality was assessed in a study by researchers at the University of California.
Two groups of adults aged 55 who suffered from moderate sleep disorders underwent two distinct interventions:
- Meditation (24 people)
- Sleep hygiene education program (25 people)
As a result, meditation resulted in less insomnia, fatigue and depression than the highly structured sleep hygiene program group.
6. Improves cognition
In the study “ Mindfulness Meditation improves cognition: evidence of brief mental training ” researchers suggest that 4 days of meditation already have a positive effect on cognition and mood.
A group of 24 students participated in four meditation sessions and the control group of 25 students heard audio from a recorded book.
Participants who had no previous meditation experience were assessed for mood, verbal fluency, visual coding and working memory.
Both interventions were effective in improving mood, but only brief meditation training reduced fatigue, anxiety and increased mindfulness .
There was also a significant improvement in visuospatial processing, working memory and executive functioning .
The researchers say, however, that they do not suggest that brief meditation is much more effective than more extensive practice. But only that their findings show that there are immediate benefits of meditation in the short term .
And it can make people continue to meditate.
7. Meditation aids in working memory while reducing vague thoughts
Researchers from the Departments of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara, analyzed the effect of meditation on mindfulness and the ability to prevent the mind from wandering during tasks that require attention, such as tests and tests.
The 48 university students who participated in the study were assessed for working memory capacity , distraction and performance in the master’s entrance exam .
Soon after, one group underwent two weeks of meditation training and the other participated in a nutrition program for food education.
They retake the tests and the group that did not do meditation did not have different results.
On the other hand, university students who practiced two weeks of meditation, obtained less vague thoughts, were better at tests of memory and reading comprehension and of 460 they scored 520 in the admission assessment.
8. Meditation promotes psychological well-being
To determine this effect, the researchers evaluated 174 adults in a clinical stress reduction program based on Mindfulness meditation. There were 8 sessions with participants who dealt with problems of stress, anxiety and chronic pain.
Participants completed assessments of mindfulness, perceived stress, symptoms and well-being before and after the meditation program. They also had to monitor the practice of meditation at home.
The results showed an increase in mindfulness and well-being , while there was a decrease in stress and other symptoms with meditation.
And formal exercises also done at home, including yoga , were significantly positive in improving psychological functioning.
Naturally, the study suggests that Mindfullness meditation practice leads to improved well-being.
9. Meditation promotes positive emotions
There are many types of meditation. One of the most different is the “ Love-Kindness Meditation” or Mettã, according to Buddhism practitioners.
This practice aims to develop feelings of empathy, kindness and compassion towards oneself and others.
To find out if Love-Kindness Meditation actually promotes positive emotions, researchers at the University of North Carolina evaluated 139 adults in a 7-week workshop.
In the waiting list group, 72 participants and 67 with Love-Kindness meditation practice.
The results showed that the practice of meditation over time increased positive emotions in daily experiences. The one that produced a variety of personal resources, such as mindfulness, purpose in life and social support.
As a consequence, increased satisfaction and reduced symptoms of depression .
10. Meditation: more attention and self-regulation
Another study that focuses on the practice of short-term meditation to show its effects. Chinese researchers evaluated 80 students after 20 minutes of meditation for 5 days.
Mindfulness and aspects of other types of meditation were used in the experiment.
The 40 students who did meditation achieved better results than the 40 in the relaxation training group:
- Increased attention;
- Less anxiety, depression, anger and fatigue;
- High vigor on the mood state scale;
- Significant decrease in stress.
With so many benefits reported by those who experience meditation, it is not surprising that science has sought to understand it better.
If you were looking for study answers, now you have ten of them to encourage you to start today!