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Scientific Benefits Behind Meditation: Why You Should Meditate

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Scientific Benefits Behind Meditation: Why You Should Meditate – Thomas DeLauer

Everyone likes to create content surrounding the world of meditation. And I think they do it because it makes them sound smart, but the reality is meditation is a powerful thing, but let’s talk about how it’s really working within the body. Here’s the big problem that we face. Most of the studies that are out there surrounding the world of meditation are very subjective. They take a look at the masses, but they take a look at an overall end result. And sometime this can lead to us wondering, “Is this truly a physiological change or is it just the kind of people that meditate tend to have this kind of response?”

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So you see what I mean by this, when I’m talking about meditation, is since most of the studies are looking at input and output, what ends up happening after someone meditates, it makes it really, really hard to determine if there’s really a change happening within the body. What I mean by that is maybe, just maybe, the kinds of people that are meditating are different kinds of people that would be more receptive to a change. Or maybe they’re the kind of people that are more receptive to a change and the fact that they, as soon as they start implementing some kind of different strategy within their life or exercising a different form of discipline, they start having different changes. Now, a lot of the studies really back this up in terms of what can happen when someone starts meditating, but maybe it’s just a better practice for life.

Now, I’m trying to look at this in a completely unbiased way because I truly am someone that meditates, but I also wonder myself if I’m doing myself good or if I’m just one of the people that has a specific regimen within my life that makes me a little bit more focused. But to back up what I’m saying right now let me give you a couple of studies. Then I’m going to dive into the actual science, into the actual research, from some new studies that are starting to show some really emerging interesting things as far as brain density and gray matter goes.

So this first study was published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal. And it took a look at 47 different studies, it’s what’s called a meta-study where they look at multitudes of studies over a period of time. There is overall 3,515 participants in this meta-study, and what they found in this analysis is that those that meditate ended up having lower levels of anxiety, lower levels of depression and lower levels of pain, markedly. So what we can conclude from this is that perhaps maybe the people that meditate are better at managing these things within their life. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that meditation triggered it. Where’s the cause and effect?

The other study that I want to reference was published in the journal of the Frontiers of Immunology. It took a look at 18 different studies with 846 participants over the course of 11 years. I love studies like this because they look at a wide spectrum of things they look at things throughout different technological advances, they look at things through different advances in our cultures and different mindsets in general.

References

1) Lidicker, G. (2017, January 17). 15 Scientific Reasons To Meditate Today. Retrieved from https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-27675/15-scientific-reasons-to-meditate-today.html

2) 3 Research-Based Reasons to Start Meditating. (2016, May 23). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mindful-musings/201605/3-research-based-reasons-start-meditating

3) Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density. (30, January). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3004979/

4) Harvard neuroscientist: Meditation not only reduces stress, here’s how it changes your brain. (2015, May 26). Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2015/05/26/harvard-neuroscientist-meditation-not-only-reduces-stress-it-literally-changes-your-brain/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.5b82e8a8a59f

5) Eight weeks to a better brain. (2018, April 9). Retrieved from https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2011/01/eight-weeks-to-a-better-brain/

6) The underlying anatomical correlates of long-term meditation: Larger hippocampal and frontal volumes of gray matter. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1053811909000044

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