10 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Meditation

I want to share 10 scientifically proven benefits of meditation with you! The practice of meditation is mentioned in written form as far back as 1500 BC. Modern science is finally discovering the benefits of mindfulness for mental health.

MINDFULNESS FOR MENTAL HEALTH IS A THING!

BENEFITS OF MINDFULNESS FOR MENTAL HEALTH
We have evidence!

YOUR BRAIN ON MEDITATION

Meditation is a tool that allows us to cultivate a sense of ease, peace, & freedom inherent in our inner selves

And science has found evidence that the benefits change our brain structure & function!

I think you’ll agree that with physical exercise, the more often you work out, the more benefits you’ll see. The same is true with your brain on meditation!

In fact, long-term practitioners of meditation have altered the structure and function of their brains!

In a good way, by increasing neuroplasticity!

your brain on meditation_increase size
Your Brain on Meditation

MEDITATION AND NEUROPLASTICITY

What is neuroplasticity, anyway?

Does it have to do with how many times I’ve mistyped ‘meditation’ or the odds that you find a typo in this post?

What are Rare Earth Metals_not the metal in barbells_alex
I thought we were talking about exercise

Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to adapt.

There are many different mechanisms of neuroplasticity ranging from the growth of new connections to the creation of new neurons. 

Neuroplasticity is continuous processing, allowing short-term, medium-term, and long-term remodeling of the neuron synaptic organization, with the aim of optimizing the functioning of neural networks during phylogenesis, ontogeny, and physiologic learning, and following brain injury.

That’s a mouthful for saying that we’re exercising our neurons for optimal brain function!

Make sense of science_Louie
Exercise with us!
Meditation activates brain regions involved in cognitive & emotional control.
So we are talking about exercise!
MRI STUDIES
MRIs suggest changes in gray & white matter in subjects who meditate.
More on MRIs here
Meditation also decreases activity of default mode networks
Default Mode Networks
are the networks more commonly used
DMNetworks
We want to use our neurons in new ways, not relying on the same old default neural networks!
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Similar to exercise stretching & using our muscles, meditation stretches & uses our neurons in new ways.

Getting around the same old default neural netwokrs.

EXACTLY WHAT WE NEED

Meditation and neuroplasticity for the win!

 

STEM Science blog_Ian
Win with meditation!

MINDFULNESS FOR MENTAL HEALTH

Let’s look specifically at the benefits of mindfulness for mental health.

For our purposes here, Mindfulness = meditation.

Mindfulness is defined technically as nonjudgmental awareness of the present moment, which provides an opportunity to acknowledge & accept difficult physical & emotional sensations.

Endangered species_Crab boil__ Kevin
We're in! We love your blog!

10 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Meditation

MEDITATION HELPS WITH DEPRESSION

10 scientifically proven benefits of meditation
MRI results showed meditation strengthened functional & structural connections between the amygdala & middle frontal gyrus
For more on brain anatomy
This increase in communication correlated with improvements in clinical symptoms.
1 depression study here
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MEDITATION REDUCES STRESS

10 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Meditation _concentration-ian
I'm not stressed, my photo should not be in this section
The physical threats of ancient times have largely been replaced by psychological worries.
Good & bad!
Studies of people who have meditated over the long-term show changes in areas of the brain concerned with stress and anxiety
Meditation helps w stress
Psychological stress is a major provocative factor of symptoms in chronic inflammatory conditions.
WE DON'T WANT THAT!
Study of mindfulness-based stress reduction
If you want to read a brief summary about the parts of the brain associated with stress & anxiety, along with a stress hormone Cortisol, I have an article linked in the box.
Science of Fear
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MEDITATION HELPS INCREASE SELF ESTEEM

10 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Meditation _Self esteem_peacock
I don't know about you, but I could use more!
Without getting too bogged down with anatomy and physiology of the brain...
The limbic system & its functional networks are closely related to multiple personality traits, including self-esteem, extraversion ,& neuroticism.
More on the limbic system here
Meditation encourages people to rely more on intuitive feelings of self-worth.
Meditation & self esteem
Meditation has also shown to improve body image
Body image study
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MEDITATION HELPS DECREASE CONSPICUOUS CONSUMPTION AKA SHOPPING

My husband is all in for this benefit of mindfulness based cognitive therapy aka meditation! 

That is not my husband but I have no gif of him.

Research in consumer behaviour has demonstrated the pervasiveness of conspicuous consumption as a means of psychological salve from inner conflicts such as self-discrepancies with regard to one's abilities or self-esteem.
OUCH ON THE SELF ESTEEM & SHOPPING
Meditation works as an antidote to conspicuous consumption
Shopping & meditation study
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MEDITATION HELPS WITH ANXIETY

10 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Meditation
I get anxious about....

….things like flying, medical tests, scary books, scary rides, worrying, exams, social interaction w/ tough crowds, & spiders. (For the record, Louie does not mind spiders. I thought arachnophobia was a good example.)

Meditation is an effective tool to help experience negative emotions without analyzing or ruminating on them.

This gives us more control over our thoughts and therefore, feelings.

Rumination is “a recurrent, self-reflective, and uncontrollable focus on depressed mood and its causes and consequences.”
RUMINATION
We often ruminate over things we have no control over, such as painful past events.
We're focused on internal mental-state processes, such as memory retrieval or imagining the future.
Mindfulness can help us interrupt the automatic connection of negative mood, negative thinking, & bodily sensations such as fatigue that often link, trigger, or reactivate a downward mood spiral.
Brown University Mindfulness
Meditation helps us stay present
so we don't dig up memories or worry about the future.
A study below showed that meditation helped applicants with pre interview anxiety
Meditation changed resting state neural connections
Meditation & anxiety
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MEDITATION DECREASES BRAIN ATROPHY

Benefits of mindfulness for mental health _Thickness increases
Red areas are increases in cortical thickness following mindfulness meditation training
Research shows that people who practice meditation regularly have structural changes in their brains.
Bigger brains!
After only 40 days of mindfulness meditation, structural & functional changes occurred in the brain of novices who started practicing meditation.
Less brain atrophy
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MEDITATION HELPS INCREASE ATTENTION SPAN

an studying 2021
Getting it done.
Research has found that long-term mindfulness meditation practice promotes executive functioning and the ability to sustain attention
Attention research
Mind wandering can be costly, especially when we are engaged in demanding tasks.
mind wandering study here
Preliminary studies suggest that mindfulness can be a promising antidote for mind wandering
Helping us concentrate w/ work, school, or play! Or extreme sports!
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These base jumpers must have a high attention span.  Read more about why we like to be scared here!

base jumping
Yes, we meditated earlier

MEDITATION HELPS WITH INSOMNIA

Are naps a good thing?
For my post about the brain benefits of napping, click on the photo!
Increasing evidence shows that meditation can be successfully used for insomnia treatment
insomnia & meditation
This holds true w/ chronic insomnia as well
chronic insomnia
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MEDITATION CAN MAKE YOU MORE EMPATHETIC

Anger
I'm empathetic.
A study showed that as little as 8 weeks of meditation training helped increase empathy in teachers during covid.
teachers' empathy study
Likewise with health care workers.
Benefits of meditation
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MEDITATION CAN INCREASE COGNITION

Mindfulness based cognitive therapy_Louie blackboard
For other ways to improve your intelligence, click on Louie!
Meditation practice can have a lasting impact on human cognition
Cognition & meditation
Routine meditative practice is associated with a long-lasting change in the topology of the brain
Brain changes
As well as long lasting changes in hippocampal function
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MEDITATION CAN REDUCE PAIN PERCEPTION

The Science Behind Touch_pain
For more on the science behind touch, click on the photo
The subjective experience of one's environment is constructed by interactions among sensory, cognitive, & affective processes
Meditation influences such processes by enabling a non evaluative representation of sensory events.
Pain & meditation
After 4 days of mindfulness meditation training, meditating in the presence of noxious stimulation significantly reduced pain unpleasantness by 57% & pain intensity ratings by 40%
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It may be that I've listed 11 scientifically proven benefits of meditation! Be it 10 or 11, there are science-backed benefits of mindfulness for mental health.

Mindfulness can help you learn how to be present & appreciate the simple pleasures of everyday life, reconnect with yourself, & experience life in the moment.

benefits of mindfulness for mental health

Mindfulness can help you interrupt the automatic connection between negative mood & negative thinking. (Like me thinking that these photos don’t line up, instead of thinking that they’re peaceful.)

Mindfulness based cognitive therapy _lotus flower
candle tea lights

YOUR BRAIN ON MEDITATION WILL THANK YOU

RIGHT NOW: Pick up your head and brighten your gaze. Look at the world!

Do you meditate?

If not, and you’d like ideas or direction about the next steps for incorporating mindfulness based cognitive therapy into your day, subscribe below ! You can also shoot me an email on my contact page! I’ll send some resources your way.

 

We do the research so you don't have to_Louie
Let's do it!

DON'T FRET! MEDITATE!

Or better yet, SUBSCRIBE. I do the research so you don't have to.

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Ami
Ami
June 9, 2022 6:17 am

I’d love to increase my attention span! You’ve convinced me. Thanks so much.

Alyssa
Alyssa
June 9, 2022 6:23 am

I don’t meditate but who couldn’t use more gray matter? I really wouldn’t have thought meditation affects our neural networks. Thanks for sharing this intriguing research.

Eva Apelqvist
Eva Apelqvist
June 9, 2022 6:46 am

Excellent posts. I always enjoy your posts but this one I NEED. Thank you. I am a convert and will start today!!!

Molly | Transatlantic Notes
June 9, 2022 7:13 am

All of this makes me want to do this; and actually put some time into trying it out! I think I’m in a much better physical and mental space to give meditation a go now; thanks for this!

Lauren
Lauren
June 9, 2022 7:29 am

It is so good that something so simple can make a big difference to your life. Thank you for sharing.

Lauren x

Unwanted Life
June 9, 2022 8:39 am

I’ve never had much luck with meditation as my brain is hyperactive and can’t tolerate not being stimulated. Sometimes it can also cause me to have a psychotic episode. However, you’ve peaked my interest in looking into it again

Carolyn Holton
Carolyn Holton
June 9, 2022 5:39 pm

WOW, so interesting, I don’t meditate, but you have convinced me to try!!!

Charity
Charity
June 9, 2022 5:56 pm

So many great benefits to mediation! I will have to try to do it more often! Thanks for sharing all this important info!

ellegracedeveson
ellegracedeveson
June 10, 2022 3:17 am

this is such a interesting post, thank you so much for sharing with us. I’ve heard great things about meditation but have never done it myself – maybe I should start. It sounds like it has great benefits! Great post Xo

elle – ellegracedeveson.com

Jenny in Neverland
June 10, 2022 4:07 am

Excellent post. I meditate although not as often as I should or want to! This has definitely prompted me to prioritize meditation as much as I prioritize Yoga!

Jade MumLifeandMe
June 10, 2022 6:13 am

I love meditating. I have been doing it on and off for 2 years and the benefits are amazing! It has helped alleviate my anxiety and allowed me to become more mindful as a Mum and with other people in general. Thank you for sharing.

Jade MumLifeAndMe

Jeannie M | Absolutely Enchantinq
June 10, 2022 7:01 am

To be honest, I’ve been skeptical about meditation ever since I’ve heard of it. It shouldn’t hurt to try. Thanks for sharing

Jodie
Jodie
June 10, 2022 7:32 am

Great information about the benefits of meditation Sue! I’m going to give it a try! Thanks for sharing.

Aspen Hite
June 10, 2022 9:49 am

GREAT post! Meditation is wonderful for the entire being, and I don’t practice it enough. Thank you for some important reminders. Be well. ✌️

Liz • GratefulGF.com
June 10, 2022 9:49 am

Love this post! I’ve fallen out of practicing meditation, but I’m picking it back up again!

readandreviewit
June 10, 2022 3:39 pm

Ooh I love this! I’ve never tried meditation before but I’d really love to give it a go at some point. I didn’t know it helped with conspicuous consumption which (as well as the mental benefits) is something I’ really benefit from, haha. Thank you so much for sharing x

Tori - Oh So T
June 11, 2022 6:09 am

I never knew these incredible benefits of meditation! Certainly something I need to add into my daily routine – I think I’d massively benefit from this so thank you for convincing me to give this another shot!

Kevin Foodie
June 11, 2022 6:42 am

I observe many bloggers write about meditation 🧘‍♂️ of lately. But have never truly understand what is meditation or how to meditate. These are some great scientifically proven benefits of meditation. Seems since the pandemic I have been experiencing the wandering mind more frequently.

Melina
June 11, 2022 9:00 am

As someone who struggles with anxiety, I definitely meditate more when I’m feeling overly anxious, and it helps a lot! I’d love to increase my attention span though, seems like I have to keep at it. Great post xx

Melina | http://www.melinaelisa.com

Belinda Jane Bennett
June 11, 2022 12:55 pm

Absolutely fascinating. There are more than enough scientifically-proven reasons to try meditation in this article. I find meditation reduces anxiety which, in turn, has many other health benefits. Great read.

Mummy Conquering Anxiety
June 12, 2022 2:52 am

I love everything about this post. I’m a huge fan of mindfulness, meditation and I’ve been on courses about neuroplasticity. Amazing post!

Thrift Plan Enjoy
June 12, 2022 2:54 am

As always, the post is packed full of useful information and I love the layout!

Rupali - Mom Kid Life
June 12, 2022 4:49 am

I always knew there are some benefits of meditation. But this is a very good list. Thanks

Corinne
June 12, 2022 3:05 pm

Great post! I’ve been watching that Wim Hoff TV show and they are getting some great benefits from meditation!

Pastor Natalie (ExamineThisMoment)
June 13, 2022 7:34 pm

Thank you for sharing this post regarding mindfulness. I honestly enjoy times with God in prayer and the Bible.

Pastor Natalie (ExamineThisMoment)
letstakeamoment.com

Amy Laundrie
Amy Laundrie
June 17, 2022 1:33 pm

Excellent article, Sue. One of your best, and that’s saying a lot.

Susan Berk Koch author

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