7 Really Good Reasons to Start a Mindfulness Meditation PracticeNone By Jennfier Abbasi
Meditation used to feel like something reserved for yoga addicts, but growing research is showing benefits for the mind and body that every one of us could use.
Meditation Helps You Sleep Sounder
Researchers at the University of Minnesota looked at seven studies on mindfulness meditation and sleep, concluding that the practice helps some people get better rest. Mediation might help people break the cycle of obsessing about not being able to get to sleep, which makes it harder to your zzz’s, says Nicole Winbush, who co-authored the study. Reducing stress hormones like cortisol, which can interfere with sleep, may also help.
Meditation Eases Pain
Mindfulness meditation has been shown to help ease chronic discomfort like neck and back pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia and recurring headaches. It teaches you to open your senses to your breathing, the sound of the wind rustling or the feel of the sun on your skin, says Jeffrey Greeson, a clinical health psychologist at Duke University. “If some attention’s going toward other things, the pain’s not going to bother you as much,” Greeson says.
Meditation Improves Your Ability to Focus
“Mindfulness training improves your ability to maintain attention and regulate emotional distractions,” says Fadel Zeidan, a cognitive neuroscientist at Wake Forest School of Medicine. In one study he conducted, people who did 20-minute meditation sessions for just four days did significantly better on timed cognitive tests than a control group. The meditators were better able to ignore the timer and simply focus on the task, he explains.
Meditation Reduces Anxiety and Stress
Recent studies are proving that meditation can actually lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in our bodies. And in a new study by Zeidan, levels of everyday anxiety decreased by a whopping 39 percent after just four 20-minute mindfulness meditation classes. How? Being more aware of our immediate experiences through meditation may keep us from stewing over the past or worrying about the future.
Meditation Makes You Feel Less Moody
Many of us automatically interpret things in a negative way and assume the worst about ourselves and others. This can cause depression, which meditation has been shown to alleviate . “One of the re