Meditation has made a big difference in my life over the past 15 years or so that I have been practicing. Why meditate? Partial list of benefits:
- Its good for your brain part one. A study from UCLA found that long-term meditators had more grey matter volume throughout the brain and had less of loss of grey matter as they aged as compared to non-meditators. (It is a good thing to have more grey matter.)
- It may help combat depression and anxiety. A recent study from Johns Hopkins found that mindfulness meditation was able to reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression on par with antidepressant pharmaceuticals.
- Its good for your brain part two. Researchers at Harvard found that mindfulness meditation can actually change the structure of the brain. In their study, eight weeks of mindfulness meditation was found to increase the thickness of areas of the brain that govern learning and memory as well as emotion regulation. The study also found decreases in brain volume in the area which is responsible for fear, anxiety and stress. In addition to the imaging results, the participants’ self-reported stress levels decreased as well after their meditation practice.
- It helps reduce anxiety and stress.
- It can help improve concentration and attention.
- It can boost your immune system.
- Meditation can help promote overall happiness.
- It can help you be more compassionate.
All sounds great. Here’s an entertaining, short video on how to start meditating (narrated by Dan Harris – author of 10% Happier):
Recommended books on Meditation:
My favorite: Wherever You Go There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn. Link: Wherever You Go There You Are
This book is by the leader of Google’s mindfulness meditation program: Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace) by Chade-Meng Tan. Link: Search Inside Yourself
A really short, accessible but beautiful little book: Sit Like a Buddha: A Pocket Guide to Meditation by Lodro Linzler. Link: Sit Like a Buddha
A good book by Dan Harris the ABC News Correspondent: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help. Link: 10% Happier