The Science behind Meditation
Maybe you think meditation is a bit like Mauri and Paul, WEIRD. Maybe you think it has a lot to do with religion, or chanting in a language/sitting in a way you don’t understand. It really doesn't have to have these connotations unless you want it to. In regards to it being weird, the amount of uber-successful entrepreneurs and executives who swear by daily meditation is enormous, not to mention athletes and other famous people. Thankfully this fashion seems to spreading and becoming more accepted here in the West.
The most successful people in the world meditate and there is a reason why. Science backs up the effectiveness of meditation and has revealed an incredible array of benefits. At Everest we see meditation as both a practice routed in ancient history AND a topic of modern science. We recognize that the only way to know whether we are achieving our goal of improving the health and happiness of the world is to measure it. That’s where the research comes in (and there is a lot of it). Here are some of the most salient findings:
Physical health...studies show that meditation:
• Reduces chronic pain
• Improves cardiovascular health/reduces blood pressure
• Lowers levels of bad cholesterol
• Slows down neurodegenerative diseases and is actually an anti-ageing therapy
• Lowers blood levels of harmful stress hormones
• Enhances immune system
• Alleviates symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
• Decreases substance abuse or overcome addictions
• Improves sleep patterns
• Lowers levels of blood lactate (which is associated with anxiety)
• Reduces physical and emotional pain (better than morphine)
Emotional health...Studies show that meditation:
• Increases your sense of connectedness and empathy
• Improves focus
• Improves relationships
• Create the will power and consciousness to be in control of one’s life
• A powerful effect on depression, with meditators experiencing 67% less episodes
• Alleviates loneliness, hopelessness, and despair
And lastly meditation also improves mental abilities—in fact meditation can dramatically:
• Enhances the ability to think clearly
• Facilitate flow states
• Improve your memory and ability to learn
• Improve problem solving skills
• Increase the ability to multitask
• And, they’re more creative and more intelligent
This is all SCIENCE. So, what you waiting for? I know what you're waiting for, your mind to chime in with the usual excuses:
I can't clear my mind—no worries, while you're sitting there you'll experience the noisy chaos of a wound up mind that's unwinding: tons of thoughts, feelings and emotions. Don't worry about how you feel during, notice how you feel after and throughout the rest of the day
I can't sit still—that's ok, just sit comfortably, fidget if you need to, also look at walking meditation or yoga (stretching) or Tai Chi.
I get anxious—that's also normal, all the disease causing junk you’ve been avoiding is coming up, try some box breathing practices to calm yourself down.
I tried and I hated it—there's not just one kind of meditation, there's a whole menu out there, look for the shoe that fits: mindfulness, Transcendental, compassion, mantra, Vipassana,, yoga nidra.
I don't have time - if you have time to listen to me waffle on about meditation all the way to here, you have time to meditate, stop making excuses. Your instagram feed is impeccable but your a nervous wreck, Think of all the time you waste everyday and take another look at that long list of benefits up there.
An old Zen saying:
"You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day. Unless you're too busy, then you should sit for an hour."