Below is a summary of the health and cognitive benefits that daily meditation can produce. Most of these benefits have been proven by more than one study over the last 30 years. For links to medical studies and news articles about these benefits, see our Library. For more insight into the spiritual aspects of meditation, see our section on Famous Mystics.
Stress Management Benefits
Reduces Symptoms of Stress : Meditation creates a physiological ‘relaxation response’ that is the opposite of the ‘fight-or-flight’ response. This slows the breathing and heart rate and releases muscle tension.
Deepens Relaxation : Individuals who meditate obtain a deeper level of physical relaxation, measured in heart rate and breathing, than those who do not meditate. They also obtain their deepest relaxation state faster.
Lowers Blood Pressure : Daily meditation significantly decreases blood pressure in individuals suffering from elevated blood pressure levels.
Decreases Panic and Anxiety Disorders : Victims of panic attacks and other anxiety disorders demonstrate a reduction in symptoms upon learning to meditate, and maintained these reductions.
Reduces Chronic Pain : Regular meditation permanently relaxes large muscle groups, reducing incidents of related chronic pain such as backaches and headaches.
Alleviates Insomnia : Regular insomnia sufferers showed significant improvement upon engaging in meditation, with the average time to fall asleep falling from 78 to 19 minutes in one study.
Improves Overall Health : Individuals who meditate regularly average half the doctors appointments of those who do not, have far lower hospitalization rates, and fewer medical treatments in 17 disease categories.
Reverses Aging Process : The biological aging process is slowed in meditators, as measured by blood pressure, near-point vision and hearing abilities.
Lowers Cholestrol : Daily meditation can significantly lower cholesterol levels in those suffering from high levels.
Aids Psychotherapy and Trauma Treatment : Meditation can aid psychotherapeutic change by developing healthy ego strength, as well as providing meaningful experiences of egolessness, particularly helpful for trauma survivors.
Decreased Cigarette, Alcohol and Drug Abuse: Treatment programs incorporating meditation enjoy a higher success rate, in terms of both the number of individuals completing the program, and in terms of the length of abstinence.
Improves Ability to Comprehend and Focus: Meditation improves the mind’s ‘field independence’, previously thought not to improve beyond early adulthood. This results in a greater ability to learn new skills, greater mental organization, improved memory and concentration.
Increases Creative Thinking Abilities : Using the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking, individuals who meditate score higher on figural originality, flexibility and verbal fluency.
Improves Memory : Meditation improves short-term memory abilities as measured by card identification tests.
Develops Intelligence : Meditation students show an increase in IQ over a 2-year period.
Increases Job Performance and Satisfaction : After meditating regularly, individuals report greater job performance and job satisfaction levels, while the desire to change jobs decreases.
Improves Relations at Work: In an 11-month study, supervisors and co-workers reported better relations and less anxiety about performance after beginning daily meditation.
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