Meditation Benefits: 3 Reasons to Give Mindfulness a Try

May 30, 2019

Meditation isn’t for monks anymore. Thanks to a steady stream of scientific studies, experts have confirmed a host of celebrated meditation benefits. The result? People are turning to mindfulness in droves. Even if you don’t know how to meditate, there are apps like Headspace to guide you through lessons at your own pace. Everyone from celebrities and athletes to successful executives practice some form of meditation. So, if you’ve been considering dipping a toe in the mindfulness pool yourself, you’re in good company! Here are three of the top reasons to do so.

It Actually Changes the Structure of Your Brain

When you meditate, miraculous things happen inside your head. It actually builds up parts of your grey matter while rewiring it, too. In a 2011 Harvard study, researchers found that consistent meditation increased cortical thickness in the hippocampus. It also decreased brain cell volume in the amygdala. When this happens, positive traits like focus and decision-making make headway over negative ones like stress and fear. This ends up doing a world of good for:

lessening anxiety and stress
improving memory function
enhancing concentration and attention
instilling a sense of calm and clarity
improving sleep quality
increasing pain tolerance

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

You’ll Start to Find Happiness in Unexpected Places

It’s easy to get bogged down by stress and worry, which often has a dramatic impact on our everyday happiness. Thanks to a series of studies from Yale, mindfulness meditation has yet another reason to recommend it. It puts a chokehold on all those pesky wandering and self-referential thoughts. This means you put less effort into thoughts like “Am I forgetting something?” and “Did I offend so-and-so this morning?” Instead, you spend more time living in the present. You’d be surprised at how much you’ll end up appreciating small moments when your brain isn’t on overdrive. The simplest things — like petting your dog or realizing how soft your bed is — can contribute to a greater sense of joy and wellbeing.

It Helps You Improve Your Relationships

Something special happens to your sense of empathy when you learn how to meditate. It gets stronger. Not only that, but your emotional resiliency does too. One of meditation’s goals is to get you to pay attention to your own needs, which leads to a healthier emotional state. From this position of strength, meditators find it easier to relate to others, appreciate them, and maintain intimacy. They’re also more prone to notice subtle cues, such as facial expressions and vocal tones. Another handy side effect? Negative people are less likely to bring them down. Imagine how helpful that would be for those battling anxiety and depression!

What are you waiting for?

These are just a few examples of impactful meditation benefits. For many of us, taking time to practice self-care can rank low on our priority list. It’s understandable when you’re busy! Thankfully, learning how to meditate is simple and straightforward. Plus, it only takes a few days of practice to start reaping the rewards. Like our bodies, the mind needs exercise and a healthy diet to stay in shape. You deserve to nourish yours.

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