What are the benefits of meditation and mindfulness?

Advertisers call on ‘science’ to help sell everything from stain remover and toothpaste to the latest drugs, diets and gadgets — and many of those marketing meditation and mindfulness have adopted this same tactic.

They cite research, present diagrams of the brain before-and-after meditation, and rattle off the names of various neuroscientists and their discoveries.

What you read (even in books on meditation) are often advertising spiels — rather than scientifically valid insights — however, there are grains of truth amongst all the hype.

Below, I list half a dozen of the well-validated benefits you might expect from meditation.

If you’ve taken a peek at the list below you might conclude that meditation is at least as good as most drugs! So what’s the catch?

The catch is, you have to meditate. And for that to happen, you have to want to meditate —which means the approach you choose has to suit you (otherwise you’ll probably give up).

In order to benefit from — and enjoy — meditation you’ll usually need two things:

Exposure to various techniques, styles and approaches.
A skilled teacher to help you discover what keeps your practice from blossoming.

Sleep Better

Get to sleep more quickly. Enjoy a good night’s rest. Stay relaxed when you wake up at 2am.

Reduce Stress

Stay calm at work, on the road, and even when the kids are driving you up the wall.

Think Clearly

Access a sense of calm, peace and balance, whenever you need to.

Regulate Heart Rate

Reduce your blood pressure and improve circulation.

Manage Pain

Relieve headaches, reduce muscular tension and learn to manage chronic pain.

Regulate Emotions

Reduce feelings of depression, anxiety, anger and confusion.
View a quick video summary of the benefits of meditation from the folks at Scientific American (adjacent), or from asapscience.com

What the doctor says

    Forty years of neuroscience research has shown that meditation ‘grows’ the brain in areas that relate to efficient study. It enhances the ability to focus and retain and retrieve information, reduces stress and anxiety and encourages metacognition.    

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness helps to change the way you think and feel about your experiences, especially stressful experiences. It involves paying attention to your thoughts and feelings in order to become more aware of them, less enmeshed in them, and better able to manage them.