Five Scientific Reasons to Meditate

· May 10, 2019
Meditation is so popular these days that it's easy to write it off as a fad or a passing trend. The benefits of practicing meditation, however, are scientifically proven and numerous. Learn more about this ancient practice and why you should jump on the meditation bandwagon as soon as possible.

As your worries grow, so does your need to disconnect from those worries. That’s when meditation becomes all the more valuable. In this article, we are going to take a look at five scientific reasons to meditate.

The number of testimonies about the benefits of this ancient practice is a sign that it deserves your attention. As we already mentioned, meditation can be useful to take your mind off of your problems, but also to get to know yourself better. Let’s learn about some of the reasons why you should start to meditate.

“Only when you can be extremely pliable and soft can you be extremely hard and strong.”

-Buddhist Proverb-

1. The physical benefits of meditation

First of all, practicing meditation offers some important physical benefits. Meditation helps strengthen your immune system as well as mitigate pain intensity after an injury. Frequent meditation can also help you reduce inflammation on a cellular level, which is very important for your long-term well-being.

a woman meditating by a pond

2. The emotional benefits of meditation

In terms of your emotions, meditation reinforces positive emotions by putting you in a calm and peaceful state. That, in turn, protects you from depression. Another one of the scientific reasons to meditate is that it offers powerful protection from anxiety.

The emotional benefits of meditation extend to your capacity for self-control. This is because it’s an introspective practice and helps you understand yourself better.

3. The benefits of meditation for your social life

While these two things might not seem to have anything in common, meditation can actually improve your social life. Usually, when people think of meditation, they think of solitude. However, you can just as easily practice meditation in a group setting. In fact, practicing with other people can help you make the most of your experience.

The bond that you form with other people when you meditate together can easily lead to great friendships. That’s because you’re sharing an intimate moment with people who have similar interests.

Meditating in a group can also help you feel less alone. Similarly, meditating with other people can help you form sold friendships.

4. Benefits of meditation for the brain

Practicing meditation often can actually increase the gray matter in your brain. This is especially true in the areas of the brain that have to do with emotions and self-control. That is also directly related to the benefits we laid out in the section above.

5. Benefits of meditation on productivity

Meditation can even help you improve your ability to pay attention because it helps you release accumulated stress. It also increases your ability to concentrate by postponing fatigue accumulation and making distractions less attractive.

Lastly, though we don’t recommend it, meditation can help you be a better multi-tasker. This is true for tasks that require short-term or long-term memory. Meditation also increases the degree of control you have over your mental processes and gives you more mental agility.

Scientific reasons to meditate

Myths about meditation

To conclude, we are going to examine some of the common myths about meditation to get rid of any doubts that it will bring positive things to your life. First of all, contrary to what many people think, meditation isn’t all about clearing your mind.

In fact, when you meditate, the exact opposite occurs. The point of meditation is to let your thoughts flow without paying attention to any thought in particular.

Another common misconception that people have is that you can only meditate in a specific position. Often when people think of meditation, they think of the lotus pose.

The truth is that you can meditate in any position that you feel comfortable in and that doesn’t cause muscle tension. The caveat there, though, is that you don’t choose a position that will put you to sleep right away.

Finally, while meditation can be a spiritual or religious practice, it certainly doesn’t have to be. You don’t have to be Buddhist, or Hindu, or a member of any specific religion to meditate.

So, now that you’ve read about the scientific reasons to meditate, what are you waiting for? Are you ready to start meditating?

Shapiro, S. L., Astin, J. A., Bishop, S. R., & Cordova, M. (2005). Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Health Care Professionals: Results From a Randomized Trial. International Journal of Stress Management, 12(2), 164-176. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/1072-5245.12.2.164
Fredrickson, B. L., Cohn, M. A., Coffey, K. A., Pek, J., & Finkel, S. M. (2008). Open hearts build lives: Positive emotions, induced through loving-kindness meditation, build consequential personal resources. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95(5), 1045-1062. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0013262