We’re great advocates of meditating here at The Hub. Here are five reasons why you don’t have to just take our word for it – medical proof that regular meditation can really make a difference to both your physical and mental health
1. Research using brain imaging has shown that meditating daily creates new neural pathways in the brain. You only need around eight weeks to see permanent changes if you practise 10 minutes a day.
2. Meditation is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as it can reduce the recurrence of depression by 50%. Mindfulness meditation helps train your mind to focus on the present, making you less likely to ruminate on anxious thoughts that can fuel depression.
3. Meditating is relaxing and restorative, and therefore recommended for stress or anxiety. It is medical proven to lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, which helps you feel more relaxed. Plus it has been shown to especially help those with social anxiety. A study at Stanford University found that people who participated in two months of meditation training reported decreased anxiety and improved self-esteem after completing the programme.
4. If you meditate regularly it will help your concentration, focus and decision making. A study at Harvard Medical School, which examined the brains of people before and after participating in an eight-week meditation programme, showed an increase in grey matter in the parts of the brain responsible for learning, memory and emotional regulation. Further research, conducted at Carnegie Mellon University, demonstrated how mindfulness meditation can improve concentration and decision making. One group participated in a three-day relaxation programme without mindfulness meditation components, while the other group participated in three days of mindfulness meditation. Brain scans before and after showed an increase in connectivity among parts of the brain that control attention for the meditation group.
5. It is proven to improve pain tolerance. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2019 reviewed the results of 60 clinical trials involving more than 6,400 participants. Its conclusion was that meditation can reduce pain in those who suffered from post-surgical, acute or chronic pain. It doesn’t take pain away but certainly helps reduce your perception of it.
There’s no great art or mystique to meditation. Simple lie down or sit cross-legged and listen to some of our favourite guided meditations from the team at The Hub: