If stress makes you anxious, tense, and worried, consider trying meditation. If you live with generalized anxiety, practicing daily meditation can help you overcome anxiety and reduce tension in your body. If you've ever taken a yoga class, you're well on your way to practicing meditation. Studies involving MRI scans show that the amygdala shrinks in response to meditation practice.
As the amygdala shrinks in size, the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain that governs our consciousness, becomes thicker. By meditating, we can increase our ability to control anxiety. The more we practice this skill, the more we develop this mental resilience. In addition, research has shown that meditation can also improve symptoms of stress-related conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, and fibromyalgia (3, 4,.
A meta-analysis that included nearly 1,300 adults found that meditation can reduce anxiety. It should be noted that this effect was strongest in those with the highest levels of anxiety (. Regular meditation can help reduce anxiety and improve stress reactivity and coping skills. For example, a review of treatments given to more than 3,500 adults found that mindfulness meditation improved symptoms of depression (1).
In another study, 153 adults who used a mindfulness meditation app for 2 weeks experienced reduced feelings of loneliness and greater social contact compared to those in a control group (20). In other words, the more time people spend in weekly metta meditation practice, the more positive feelings they will experience (3). These benefits also seem to accumulate over time with the practice of love and kindness meditation (3). The mental discipline you can develop through meditation can help you break down by increasing self-control and awareness of triggers of addictive behaviors (3) Research has shown that meditation can help people learn to redirect their attention, control their emotions and impulses, and increase their understanding the causes behind your (35, 3).
A study of 60 people receiving treatment for alcohol use disorder found that practicing transcendental meditation was associated with lower levels of stress, psychological distress, alcohol cravings, and alcohol consumption after 3 months (3) Meditation can also help you control food cravings. A review of 14 studies found that mindfulness meditation helped participants reduce binge eating and emotional binge eating (3) A study compared mindfulness-based meditation programs and found that people who meditated stayed asleep longer and had an improvement in mindfulness severity of insomnia, compared to those who had not medicated (3) For example, a review of 38 studies concluded that mindfulness meditation could reduce pain, improve quality of life, and decrease symptoms of depression in people with chronic pain (40). A large meta-analysis of studies that enrolled nearly 3,500 participants concluded that meditation was associated with pain reduction (4) There is a completely new subgenre of meditation, mentioned above, called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness (now available nationwide), which aims to reduce a person's stress level, physically and mentally. A study of 100 adults randomly assigned to a program that included love and kindness meditation found that these benefits were dose-dependent.
The ultimate goal of meditation is not to live a problem-free life, but to learn how the mind works and how to work with the mind. In fact, a follow-up study conducted by Lazar's team found that after meditation training, changes in brain areas related to mood and arousal were also related to improvements in the way participants said they felt. In addition, a review concluded that meditation can even reverse patterns in the brain that contribute to deviating the mind, worrying, and paying little attention (2). Research at other institutions has shown that meditation can significantly reduce anxiety in patients with generalized anxiety and depression disorders.
Everyone from Anderson Cooper and Congressman Tim Ryan to companies like Google, Apple and Target is integrating meditation into their schedules. Meditation gives you freshness, the freshness of the present and makes you forget the bad incidents of the past. A similar study showed that people who practiced meditation regularly performed better on a visual task and had a greater attention span than people without any meditation experience (2). Blood pressure decreases not only during meditation, but also over time in people who meditate regularly.