8 Ways Meditation Will Help You Become Calmer and HappierBy Cary Barbor
If you’ve been unhappy and anxious lately, you might be thinking you need to make a big change. Perhaps you need a new job, a different place to live, or even a new partner. But hold on a minute. Before you make any big life changes, consider trying a daily meditation practice. There's plenty of evidence that with a relatively small investment of time and effort, we can become reliably calmer and happier, regardless of circumstances. A new book by two meditation experts, journalist Daniel Goleman and researcher Richard Davidson, Altered Traits, gathers the research and lays it out in a clear manner. Here’s what was proven most helpful in improving daily life:
Decrease Stress, Increase Compassion
Schoolteachers who underwent an eight-week meditation program were less depressed, anxious, or stressed, and more compassionate and aware of others' feelings, according to a study. "The study is particularly important because opportunities for reflection and contemplation seem to be fading in our fast-paced, technology-driven culture," said lead author Margaret Kemeny of UCSF.
Sharpen Your Attention...
Attention is in short supply these days, as countless devices and distractions pull our focus in various directions. Participants in a study who meditated daily for three months experienced improved, sustained attention.
...And Stay More Attentive for Years
Not only did attention improve immediately for the meditators, but those who kept at it enjoyed an increased ability to pay attention for seven years after the initial training!
Become Less Critical of Yourself
Self-criticism plays a big role in many peoples’ unhappiness. And it’s linked with a poor response to brief psychological and pharmacological treatments for depression. A study showed that “loving-kindness” meditation, which helps foster self-compassion, can help people become less self-critical and more self-compassionate. The