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8 Scientific Reasons Why You Should Start Meditating

When you think of meditating you might think of monks sat on the side of a mountain contemplating the world for years on end. We doubt you have got that sort of time, but it is well worth trying to find a few minutes each day to meditate. The morning is a good time as it can help set you up for the day ahead, but the evening (or both) wouldn’t be bad either. But what is the point of it all, you may ask?

Here are 8 scientifically-proven ways that meditation can help you:

1. You Will Be Less Stressed

Meditation can help lower your stress levels, and not just because you spent a few minutes (10 is good) in the quiet. A study of over 150 adults showed that the amygdala (the part of the brain associated with anxiety and fear) shrank after just 8-weeks of a mindfulness course. This means that meditation will actually physically lower your stress levels!

2. It’s Like Mental Valium!

Meditation will also help GABA production in the brain. We don’t mean the unlistenable hardcore techno music (‘Gabba’), but a neurotransmitter that fights against anxiety. Basically, more GABA equals lower stress. Drugs like Valium and Klonopin work by increasing GABA levels in the brain – something that you can do with meditation!

3. Less Norepinephrine

No, we didn’t know what it was either, but Norepinephrine (NE) is another neurotransmitter that is related to anxiety. This one increases stress levels, but studies have shown that meditators have less of it in their system.

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4. You Will Be More Focused

Scientific studies have also shown that meditation can improve the connections between different areas of the brain – including those associated with paying attention and not getting distracted – making you more focused.

5. Your Brain Won’t Age As Quickly

Like any other organ in your body, your brain does age over time, causing your cortex to shrink. This means less gray matter – which is never a good thing! However, one study showed that meditators aged 50 had the same amount of gray matter as a 25-year-old.

6. Your Senses Will Improve

Long-term meditation won’t just prevent your gray matter from deteriorating, but it can even increase it in areas associated with some senses, such as feeling and hearing. This means that you can actually improve some of your senses by meditating!

7. You’ll Be Smarter

That’s right, meditation can also help you to be smarter! A study by the National Institutes of Health showed that there were more folds in the brains of meditators. These folds are known to increase your ability to process information, which means that meditators are smarter too.

8. You’ll Feel Better

If reducing stress while increasing your brainpower isn’t reason enough to give meditation a go, it has also been shown that you will feel better for meditating. The production of dopamine, the brain’s ‘reward chemical’ associated with sex and good food, can be increased with meditation. One study of Yoga Nidra (a relaxing meditative yoga practice) saw a huge 65% increase in dopamine release.

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With all these proven benefits, isn’t it time you gave meditation a try?

 

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