10 Scientific Reasons Tell Why You Should Meditate Everyday

10 Scientific Reasons Tell Why You Should Meditate Everyday

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Meditation has a lot of popularity now a days in the West as well as in the East. Different meanings and opinions of it exist, depending on where and whom you speak about it. This post is intended to present the views of ancient Rishis and the modern scientific benefits of meditation.
Dharana is holding the mind on to some particular object. An unbroken flow of knowledge to that object is Dhyana.

Different yogic lineages teach different techniques of meditation based on the spiritual state of the practitioner. Nevertheless, all the techniques are strictly based on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

In the 21st century, meditation had got such a popularity in the west, mainly due to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who was teaching the Beatles those times. Soon the scientific community had picked an interest and started conducting studies on this esoteric practice from the East.

The yogis had become the modern guinea pigs for the scientists studying meditation.

In one such study on Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, to their surprise, they found that he was generating all types of brain waves while his physical body was snoring in deep sleep, yet he was aware of everything going on around him. The below list of benefits are listed from such studies.

1. Increases Immune Function

These findings suggest that meditation may change brain and immune function in positive ways and underscore the need for additional research – American Psychosomatic Society
A group of 10 scientists at American Psychosomatic Society, did a controlled study and found that for the first time significant increases in left‐sided anterior activation, a pattern previously associated with positive affect, in the meditators compared with the non-meditators. We also found significant increases in antibody titers to influenza vaccine among subjects in the meditation compared with those in the wait‐list control group. Finally, the magnitude of increase in left‐sided activation predicted the magnitude of antibody titer rise to the vaccine.

These findings demonstrate that a short program in mindfulness meditation produces demonstrable effects on brain and immune function.


2. Decreases Pain

Meditation Reduces Pain Through Multiple Brain Mechanisms. – National Institute of Health
In a scientific study conducted by scientists at the National Institute of Health, it is found that meditation dramatically reduces pain and this study also quells a myth that these results could be attained only by experienced meditators.

Although the benefits of meditation have long been associated with extensive training, our findings demonstrate that some of meditation’s beneficial effects can be realized after just four-days (20 min/day) of training, suggesting that it may serve as an effective adjunct therapy in clinical settings.
In fact, studies have shown a positive relationship between meditative experience and pain relief suggesting that the benefits of this technique can be further realized after extensive training.

3. Decreases Cellular Level Inflammation

In a research paper published on Science Daily, it is revealed that medication could be used to reduce the inflammation at the cellular level itself. Mindfulness training, compared to a well-matched control condition, is a better buffer of the effects of psychological stress on neurogenic inflammation.This work provides an initial indication that meditation may be a novel treatment approach for reducing loneliness and related pro-inflammatory gene expression in older adults.

These results suggest behavioral interventions designed to reduce emotional reactivity may be of therapeutic benefit in chronic inflammatory conditions. Moreover, mindfulness practice, in particular, may be more efficacious in symptom relief than the well-being promoting activities cultivated in the HEP program.

 4. Boosts Positive Attitude in Life

Open hearts build lives – Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
Positive emotions, induced through loving-kindness meditation, build consequential personal resources.B. L.  Fredrickson’s (1998, 2001) broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions asserts that people’s daily experiences of positive emotions compound over time to build a variety of consequential personal resources.

If you start feeling good consistently, over a period of time, that state of feeling good becomes a natural state. Meditation as a daily practice is found to make changes in the physiology to bring in positive attitude in life.

 5. Decrease Depression & anxiety

Dysfunctional attitudes and rumination are the symptoms of the onset of depression.
Meditation changes the cognitive processes of this depression and is shown to reduce it considerably in a scientific study. This study describes the effects of an 8-week course in Meditation-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on affective symptoms (depression and anxiety), dysfunctional attitudes, and rumination. Given the focus of meditation in modifying cognitive processes, it was hypothesized that the primary change in meditation practice involves reductions in ruminative tendencies.

“We studied a sample of individuals with lifetime mood disorders who were assessed prior to and upon completion of an MBSR course. We also compared a waitlist sample matched with a subset of the MBSR completers. Overall, the results suggest that meditation practice primarily leads to decreases in ruminative thinking, even after controlling for reductions in affective symptoms and dysfunctional beliefs”, said the scientists.


 6. busts the stress

The literature is replete with evidence that the stress inherent in health care negatively impacts health care professionals, leading to increased depression, decreased job satisfaction, and psychological distress.

In an attempt to address this, the current study examined the effects of a short-term stress management program, meditation-based stress reduction (MBSR), on health care professionals.

Meditation is a stress buster.
Results from this prospective randomized controlled pilot study suggest that an 8-week MBSR intervention may be effective in reducing stress and increasing quality of life and self-compassion in health care professionals.


7. Increases Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence is the pillar on which your social life, reputation and employability depend on.

Meditation increases connectedness.
The need for social connection is a fundamental human motive, and it is increasingly clear that feeling socially connected confers mental and physical health benefits. However, in many cultures, societal changes are leading to growing social distrust and alienation. Can feelings of social connection and positivity toward others be increased? Is it possible to self-generate these feelings?

In this study, the authors used a brief loving-kindness meditation exercise to examine whether social connection could be created toward strangers in a controlled laboratory context.

8. Makes You More Compassionate

In a research done by Stanford university scientists prove that meditation makes one compassionate towards others, including animals and insects.

The more important fact about the study is that a meditator becomes more compassionate towards oneself too. That’s the pillar for well-being.
Compassion towards oneself is the stepping stone for well-being.

A compassionate creature is less likely to cause distress or hurt other living things. This world needs more such people.


9. Introspection Ability Improves

In a collaboration with professors Zindel Segal and Adam Anderson at the University of Toronto, the study compared exteroceptive (externally focused) attention to interoceptive (internally focused) attention in the brain.

Participants were instructed to either focus on the sensation of their breath (interoceptive attention) or to focus their attention on words on a screen (exteroceptive attention).  
Attention Turned Inward Can Help Soothe Anxiety and Increase Well-Being

Contrary to the conventional assumption that all attention relies upon the frontal lobe of the brain, the researchers found that this was true of only exteroceptive attention; interoceptive attention used evolutionarily older parts of the brain more associated with sensation and integration of physical experience.


10. Increases Your Brain Power

In multiple studies done by scientists, it is found that meditation increases the gray matter in the brain.
Meditators can cultivate positive emotions, retain emotional stability, and engage in mindful behavior. – Science Daily

These abilities are due to the increase in volume in areas related to emotion regulation, positive emotions & self-control in the brain. An increase in cortical thickness in areas related to paying attention is also observed.

Research in reputed universities across the world points to the practice of meditation as a savior and important part of modern life. Meditation is the way of life given to us by the ancient Rishis to propel us in the direction of realizing the truth. While that remains the ultimate goal, the above-listed incentives itself are a big indication for us to practice it daily.

Lets meet in another post on various simple meditation techniques.

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