Benefits of Meditation

Meditation is no longer thought of as new-age, hippy flower power.  Meditation, which some have sworn by for years, has been scientifically proven to be good for you. 

There are over 3,000 scientific studies on the benefits of meditation, all based on different types of meditation.  Some of the studies have even shown that meditating for just 20 minutes per day for a few weeks was enough to start experiencing the benefits.

Making a huge life choice?  Maybe meditation can help you to make a more cognitive decision.  Our largest decisions in life are also the most stressful.  Imaging reducing the stress you feel when buying your dream home.  Some 70% of people who have bought or sold a house have said it was stressful. If your mind was not only more relaxed but more alert would you make better negotiating decisions?  If you took 20 minutes every day to sit at the beach and concentrate only on the sound of the waves, would things like credit reports, paperwork and closings, not seem so daunting?  Having your mind in a place of peace and calm will only help to smooth the process.

Researchers in Belgium conducted a study with 400 middle school students, finding that those that participated in a mindfulness meditation (focusing on the present moment) program reported less depression, anxiety and stress, up to 6 months later.  It is even being used to help treat women with high-risk pregnancies and is significantly reducing their depression and intensifying the bonding with the babies in the womb. 

The University of California has found that meditation can help retain focus, especially for repetitive or boring tasks.  It also improved test performance on core skills (thinking, reading, remembering and paying attention).  Sounds perfect for that boring class or long meeting you have to sit through. 

Mindfulness meditation is only one of dozens of different types of formal meditations.  The formal practice is done while sitting and paying close attention to the movement of your breath.  There is also the practice of mindfulness during our daily activities.  Pay attention to what is happening in the moment rather than living in an automatic mode. 

With dozens of ways to meditate which is the best? Well, the best meditation is the meditation that works for you.

By: Jennifer Sharp

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