Until the last decade or so, many people wrote off meditation as just another spiritual fad for devout Buddhists or health-obsessed yogis.
However, in recent times, stacks of scientific research and a cult following from influential celebrities has seen the credibility of meditation soar (and with good reason!).
From preserving the aging brain to helping us to control stress, we’re only just beginning to uncover all the benefits this chilling method can offer.
How Meditation Can Improve Your Life
Still not convinced? We’ve rounded up a list of 4 ways meditation can improve your life. Here it is:
1⃣ Reduce stress
One of the major reasons that more and more people are turning to meditation is to deal with the pressures of a constantly connected 21st-century lifestyle.
In fact, recent studies have found that the amount of stress-related absences from work around the world are on the rise. Whether this is due to family problems, increased workloads or lack of job security, it costs businesses a fortune and dramatically impacts the lives of those affected.
Fortunately, studies have found that practicing mindfulness meditation can be a highly effective way to reduce the occurrence of unproductive worries and generalized anxiety. This reduction, in turn, leads to greater productivity, better quality of sleep and overall mood improvement.
Worried you’re too highly strung for meditation? Never fear — mindfulness meditation isn’t all about sitting cross-legged on a mat any more. Even people with short attention spans can mindfulness meditate!
2⃣ Improve Overall Health
Believe it or not, stress can be linked in some way to up to 70% of illnesses, from gastrointestinal distress to psoriasis. Even more frighteningly, links can be made between stress and early onset Alzheimer’s and heart disease.
Before you get too wound up about these scary statistics, you should know that meditation can help to keep stress under control and stave off many of these conditions.
A recent study conducted by UCLA actually found that long-term meditators had better-preserved brains than their non-meditating counterparts as they aged, suggesting that we can lessen the risk of developing degenerative brain disease using meditation.
So, next time you feel your blood pressure rising, don’t be afraid to take a few deep breaths and slip into a more tranquil state.
3⃣ Appreciate Life More
We live in such a fast-paced world that it’s all too easy to forget to stop and smell the roses. A fantastic part of mindfulness meditation is the way that it encourages us to appreciate the things and people around us.
Failure to appreciate family, friends and even the basic luxury of being able to afford a home and food can leave us irritable and depressed.
When we practice mindfulness, we stop comparing our car to our neighbor’s and start to feel grateful for all the good things in our lives. This mindset helps to combat depression and anxiety and foster self-love.
4⃣ Improve Concentration
You may think that meditation isn’t for you if you have a hard time concentrating. However, research has shown that undertaking just a few weeks of meditation training significantly improved people’s focus and memory.
While this study examined the effect of meditation on the verbal reasoning section of the Graduate Record Examinations, improved concentration doesn’t just apply to standardized testing. It can also improve job performance and general cognition in every area of your life.
This is particularly helpful for parents or children struggling with ADHD.
If you constantly find yourself sick, stressed or struggling to concentrate, consider setting aside 30 minutes a day to practice mindfulness meditation. In a few short weeks, you may find that your entire outlook has changed!
How To Start Meditating
Here is a beginner guide to meditating made by Drake Baer and Skye Gould for Business Insider: