Okay, so you’ve started to use Meditation, or maybe you’re still thinking about it after years of hearing about its benefits!
What’s stopping you?
Or, maybe you meditate, but wonder what good it will do for you.
Or, maybe you know that you feel good when you meditate, but wonder whether it’s actually making a difference.
Or, none of the above?!
Well, science has continued to generate an ongoing stream of research – some good and some not so good – showing empirical, scientific, measurable evidence that meditation really works!
Because there’s so much information out there, I’ve decided to write this post to include four of the most recent studies that have shown that meditation practices are really good for you and that you may really want to consider starting a meditation practice, continuing your practice if you’re already practicing, or take your practice seriously if you’ve lost your enthusiam.
So, here are four important scientific facts to remember to bolster your meditation practice:
- Meditation is more powerful than morphine! I posted on this study previously, but since that was a while ago and since many of you may have not read that post, here’s the scoop. Researchers found the data to indicated that, “…meditation engages multiple brain mechanisms that alter the construction of the subjectively available pain experience from afferent information.” They found about a 40% reduction in pain intensity and a 57% reduction in pain unpleasantness. Meditation produced a greater reduction in pain than even morphine or other pain-relieving drugs, which typically reduce pain ratings by about 25%.” Take-home point: meditation reduces pain!
- Eight weeks of meditation practice can change your brain! Ever want to change that way that your brain works, but can’t afford the hassle of brain surgery!? Try meditation. Seriously, this study found that by practicing meditation for just 27 minutes a day, participants were able to make measurable changes in brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress. Do you know anyone who couldn’t use a little help in at least one of those areas? Take home point: meditation helps your brain!
- Meditation helps us to be more compassionate! Who needs compassion? After all, we all have an inner-Mother Theresa, don’t we?? But, where is she? Although we may try, we sometimes lack the compassion, for others as well as for ourselves, to be kind and patient. Well, meditate. I’ve posted frequently on the work done by Dr. Richard Davidson and his colleagues at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. In this study, Davidson found that by practicing meditation, seasoned mediators were able to change the way that they responded to those in need to increase their compassionate impulse. That could help a lot when we: get fired, fire someone, have a fight with our spouse, have a fight with our kids, kick the dog, the dog kicks us! Right, take home point: we can always use more compassion!
- Meditation can improve our immune system! Wow, isn’t every season flu season these days? With travel, kids in schools, visitors, work, shopping malls! – we’re all susceptible to a constant barrage of new bugs and illnesses. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to give our immune system an extra boost? Take home point: get healthy, meditate!
Okay, so pain relief, brain relief, more compassion, better health. Pardon the pun, but isn’t meditating kind of a no-brainer?
What do you think? Are these enough reasons to start meditating? Or to continue to meditate? Or, to start over again? These are just some of the many reasons to practice meditation in our daily lives.
By practice, in this case, we’re talking about formal practice. While there are ways of integrating practice into our daily life (also see post: 17 Ways to Practice Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life) it’s important to remember that we need to set aside time for ourselves each day, apart from our busy lives, to practice meditation in order that we’ll be able to be present with our “informal” practice in our daily life.
For more information on the science of meditation, please see the Related Posts below. Also, don’t forget to download the free ebook, Can Meditation Change the Way that You View Your World?, for help with getting started in you meditation practice. Also, you can now download the new ebook, How to Work with the Four Distractions to Meditation to learn how to deal with some of the obstacles to meditation.
NEW – this site has a new page, Media, where you can find articles, MP3 tracks for downloading, and videos on the subject of meditation.
As always, please feel free to share your comments. And, as always, please feel free to contact me if you’d like to see additional content or other discussions on this site.