16 Amazing Benefits of Meditation (According to Science)

16 Amazing Benefits of Meditation (According to Science)

You’ve read about the many science-based benefits of meditation and wonder if it’s for you. 

“Is it worth the effort?” you ask yourself?

The answer is “yes” if you would like more energy, better sleep and increased access to intuition.

Or try it if you suffer from stress related chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure.

Science tells us powerful benefits like these are just some of the ways meditation can improve your life.

It can also help improve your focus and concentration, even in the midst of serious distractions.

Ready to learn more?

Let’s dig in.

What Are the Benefits of Meditation?

Meditation prepares you for all aspects of daily life. Here are a few of the many benefits of a regular practice.

1. Meditation: A Stress Relief Activity

Stressed looking main leaning on a large stack of files at work

If you feel overwhelmed and anxious about the state of your life or the world, meditation can help.

Studies show it can reduce stress and alleviate anxiety, depression, eating disorders and even addictions by taming your fight or flight reaction.

Cortisol is a hormone your body produces in the face of stressful events.

One of its functions is to suppress non-essential (for stress management purposes) functions like your immune, reproductive or digestive systems so you can fight against or flee causes of stress. 

If the situation is short-lived, your body’s systems return to normal. 

If stress persists, your body remains revved up and your immune, digestive and other systems remain in a suppressed state. 

This can cause chronic illness, sleepless nights, worry, depression and anxiety.

Fortunately, studies show meditation helps lower cortisol levels and give your body and mind a break.

2. Can Meditation Lower Your Blood Pressure?

African American father holding daughter with Doctor taking her blood pressure

Meditation helps people relax. But can it help bring blood pressure down? 

Research shows meditators often enjoy lower blood pressure than non-meditators. 

One article reviewed studies of lifestyle changes that effectively lower hypertension. Meditation emerged as one of them along with yoga, tai chi and acupuncture. 

In another study, participants did mindfulness meditation for eight weeks while a control group attended health education sessions. At the end of week eight the meditation group had significantly lower blood pressure scores than the control group.

3. Meditation & Heart Health Improvement

graphic of red heart on blue background

The same stress that compromises your immune and digestive systems also raises your blood pressure and causes your heart to pump harder as it prepares you to fight or flee stress.

Is it any wonder, given the stress that most of us experience on a daily basis, that heart attacks and strokes are common?

Meditation helps pause the flow of stress hormones and gives your heart and blood vessels a much deserved rest.

4. What About Blood Sugar?

meditating black woman on blue background

High blood sugar is increasingly common and impacts all aspects of a person’s life. It also often contributes to the severity of coronary artery disease.

Can meditation possibly help? 

Studies show the answer could be yes. 

In one instance, 60 adults with diagnosed coronary artery disease were divided into two groups. One group practiced meditation for six months, the control group did not.

After six months, the meditation group enjoyed significant decreases in blood sugar compared to the control group.

The non-meditators, on the other hand, had a significant increase in fasting serum insulin levels, a measure often associated with diabetes or pre-diabetes.

5. Meditation's Deep Impact

person meditating on beach facing sunset

The profound relaxation associated with meditation can change your body at a genetic and cellular level. 

In a Harvard study twenty-four people with high blood pressure were taught to achieve a “relaxation response,” using a form of meditation that included breath work and chanting a one word mantra. They practiced at home for eight weeks with a CD prepared for this purpose.

Over half of the participants enjoyed “a meaningful decrease in their blood pressure.”

And blood work indicated genetic level changes in those whose blood pressure dropped, compared to those for whom the relaxation training was not effective.

6. Lower inflammation

Older couple joggin together in the woods

A surprising result of the Harvard study was observed changes in “172 different genes associated with inflammation, circadian rhythms and glucose metabolism” in those who enjoyed lower blood pressure after practicing meditation. 

In yet other research, meditation was associated with a reduction in Interleukin-6, (IL-6), a biomarker for inflammation.

Since inflammation underlies many chronic illnesses from heart and cardiovascular issues to cancer and auto-immune conditions, these genetic level changes indicate meditation can be a useful part of their treatment. 

And of course it may also help healthier people stay that way.

7. Emotional Balance

girl with heart shaped sunglasses in field of red flowers

Everyone experiences ups and downs as they go through life. 

Not everyone reacts to these changes in the same way. If you are someone who is prone to react (or worse yet overreact) emotionally to life’s ups and downs, try meditation.

Researchers in one study had non-meditators listen to a daily meditation soundtrack 13 minutes a day for eight weeks. A control group listened to a daily podcast 13 minutes a day for the same eight weeks

Results showed that, compared to the control group, the meditators experienced an improved outlook associated with a decrease in negative moods. They also enjoyed an increase in attention and memory.

8. Stay Younger Longer

Older main with headphoes meditating

Our ability to sustain attention typically declines as our brains age. 

However, a study that followed meditators over a 7 year period found that regular practice could lessen this decline.

In other research, scientists looked at three different indicators of cognitive decline associated with aging. While the study group listened to a meditation soundtrack, the control group listened to music, both for 12 minutes per day.

Results showed improvement in cognitive function as well as sleep, mood and quality of life for the meditation group.

9. Feel More Alert

Man holding woman on his back on the beach both smiling

Do you ever feel like you’re not fully present? Maybe you’re not asleep, but you feel too tired to pay attention. Or maybe you have trouble focusing, making it hard to be productive.

Instead, all you want to do is take a nap but you force yourself to keep working because you have a deadline or fear you may lose your job.

Can meditation help? 

In one study, participants underwent three months of meditation training (also called mental training). The scientists wanted to know if brains could be trained to pay attention. 

They concluded that “mental training can significantly affect attention and brain function.”

10. Love Your Job

woman at work in front of laptop looking happy with arms raised

A recent study focused on whether meditation—delivered for 10-20 minutes via smartphone—could help employees reduce job stress and blood pressure and feel more content overall.

At the end of eight weeks, the meditation group reported “significant improvement in well-being, distress, and job strain…compared to the control group.” 

In addition, along with decreased systolic blood pressure, the meditation group’s feelings about their colleagues changed for the better. They reported they felt a greater sense of “social support.” 

11. Anxiety Relief

Dark haired woman with hand on forehead looking anxious

People whose minds wander to fears about the future or regrets about the past are prone to anxiety. 

 “Could meditation help with mind wandering,” asked a group of scientists?

To explore this idea, they recruited highly anxious college students and assigned half to a meditation group, half to a control group.

Their results showed meditation helped the students stay focused on what was happening in the present moment.

While their mind wandering didn’t stop completely (no one’s does after all), the time spent there didn’t increase.

The study authors concluded these findings could be especially significant for “treating worrying in anxious populations.”

12. Pain Relief?

purple lotus floating on water

Yes, meditation can also help alleviate pain. 

And, surprisingly, it may do so by accessing the same neural pathways as opioids, also well-known for their pain relief benefits (though with significant side effects). 

Experienced meditators were the subjects in a study focused on discovering the internal pathways meditation uses to reduce pain. 

The study subjects rated their reaction to both the pain and the unpleasantness of cold. Results showed both were reduced after meditation.

A second part of the study compared two groups of meditators. One received intravenous naloxone (a drug designed to counter the impact of opioids to prevent overdose) while the second received saline instead. 

Results showed that, just as naloxone countered the impact (including pain relief) of opioids, it also countered the pain relief benefits of meditation. 

The scientists also found evidence that the pain relief benefits of meditation increase over time.

They concluded that (similar to previous studies) mindfulness meditation has significant pain relief benefits and follows the same neural pathways to do so as opioids do.

13. Boost Your Immunity

Woman standing in front of man both with arms raised in good health

One way meditation helps boost immunity is by lowering your stress level. Turning down the fight or flight response allows your immune system to function like it was designed to do.

But you may also receive an immune system boost from genetic changes associated with meditation. 

An intriguing result came about from a study of 106 middle-aged men and women who attended an 8-day meditation retreat. Researchers drew blood samples before, after and during the retreat. 

Three months after the retreat's conclusion, the researchers discovered increased activity in 220 genes associated with immunity. Among these were 68 genes specific to what is called “interferon signaling,” a process essential for defending against chronic conditions such as cancer, MS and COVID.

14. Happier In The Moment

two happy women friends

For centuries spiritual teachers have taught that being in the moment is the only way to find genuine happiness. They also teach the value of meditation for this purpose.

Brain research supports these concepts.

Not living in the moment can be experienced as a wandering mind, fear of the future, and having regrets about the past. 

Brain studies show these negative experiences activate parts of the brain called the default mode network (DMN).

If meditation helps practitioners to be happier and more in the moment, its use should be associated with decreased DMN activity.

Scientists found support for this idea in research on meditation and the brain. They discovered that two types of meditation practice were indeed associated with decreased DMN activity.

15. Greater Self-Awareness

Mandala in blue and lavender colors

Self-awareness is an essential component of happiness. 

Self aware people can observe themselves, their thoughts and emotions and make decisions about what is best for them. They are less influenced by what others think and believe than those who are less self-aware.

As a result they are better able to choose what makes them happy.

Meditation, with its inward focus, helps practitioners achieve higher levels of self-awareness

16. And There's More

For even more insight on the benefits of meditation for everything from physical health to overcoming addictions, check out this article from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

What Happens When You Meditate Every Day?

stone hands holding pink lotus

A daily meditation practice can help you achieve balance in what are called your dense dimensions: your physical body, your emotions and your mind. 

And balance in the dense dimensions gives you access to experiences that are more subtle, like intuition.

Have you ever had a hunch about something and not taken action? Maybe a thought pops into your head telling you to take an umbrella. You ignore it when that thought doesn’t agree with the weather report.

Later when it’s pouring rain you tell yourself, “I just knew this was going to happen. Why didn’t I pay attention?”

We’ve all heard stories about people who avoided an accident by following a hunch to get off at an earlier than usual highway exit or found a terrific deal while shopping when they respected an urge to stop at a particular store.

Stories like these illustrate what is possible when you are alert to intuitive messages. But if you are caught up in daily chaos and stress, you may miss them.

When you are in balance you remain calm and collected in the face of stress, which makes it easier to perceive intuitive messages.

Turning your focus within gives you a break from the ups and downs of daily life, improving your balance.

Meditation Techniques for Beginners & Others

Man with dark hair wearing all white meditating

Meditation is a positive experience regardless of the technique you choose. (If you would like more information on how to meditate, click here.)

However, traditional meditation techniques are less effective than they once were. Today we live in a technology-based, modern world that is increasingly noisy and crowded.

And, often, technology is the source of our stress. 

On the other hand, technology can help us bring balance to the chaos.

For example, Synchronicity’s High-Tech Meditation® utilizes precision, sonic entrainment technology. 

Its practitioners receive benefits rather quickly that once required meditating for hours a day in a remote place like a cave.

This makes it easier to enjoy meditation’s benefits while living a dynamic modern lifestyle. 

What Are the Benefits of High-Tech Meditation?

What does High-Tech Meditation® do to the brain? Can we even prove something is going on when we meditate?

With modern brain-imaging technologies, we can see the different structures of the brain respond to meditation, further proving what the ancients have been teaching us all along.

A comparison of the brain waves of Synchronicity® High-Tech meditators with those of Buddhist monks using traditional low-tech methods is suggestive. 

Studies of Buddhist monks with five or fewer years of meditative experience consistently produced mid- to high-frequency alpha brainwaves (10 to 12 Hz.).

Those with ten to twenty years’ experience produced lower frequency alpha waves (7 to 9 Hz.).

Very experienced meditators with twenty to forty years’ experience consistently produced theta frequencies in the 5 to 6 Hz. range.

Interestingly, the researchers made no mention of Delta waves (0.5 to 3.5 Hz.), long considered to be the most recognizable sign of enlightened beings.

Contrast these results from low tech meditation systems with brainwave studies of participants in Synchronicity’s® High-Tech Recognitions Program

The Synchronicity meditators had seven or fewer years of meditative experience. The group included members of Synchronicity’s resident community as well as those out in the world with typical jobs, families and lifestyles. 

Most Recognitions beginners produced Alpha brain waves at 11 or 12 Hz, similar to patterns demonstrated by novice Buddhist monks.

More experienced Recognitions meditators experienced shifts in their Alpha brainwave patterns, the peaks becoming lower in frequency, larger in amplitude, and more persistent in time.

With even more experience, Recognitions meditators experienced more Theta brainwave patterns and developed Delta brain waves.

These results indicate that High-Tech Meditators (with seven or fewer years of practice) had brainwave patterns consistent with those using traditional techniques, but who had been meditating twenty years or more.

With consistent practice, both systems achieved similar results in the end. But technology helped the Synchronicity® meditators arrive there about four times as fast.

Ready to Change Your Life?

A regular meditation practice can be life-changing.

You will feel calmer and more relaxed. Maybe you no longer get angry when someone cuts you off while driving or when your best friend is late for lunch (again).

The people you work with seem easier to get along with and you find you no longer have to be right about everything.

You also have more energy and health issues that have bothered you for years don’t seem quite so troublesome.

Perhaps it’s time to give meditation a try.

For advice about how to get started, click here.

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