Meditation is associated with mindfulness and the spiritual side of eastern religions. But the truth is that for a while now, it’s been growing in popularity throughout the world as a way of relaxing. Meditation is becoming a potential tool to fight against some of the bigger problems of modern society, like depression and stress.
The first historical data about this topic is from over 3,000 years ago. But it wasn’t until 100 years ago when scientists started to study the benefits of meditation on the human body and specifically, the changes it makes in the brain of the person who practices it.
Since the beginning of these more recent investigations, scientists have discovered several benefits from the practice of mindful meditation, like the reduction of physical pain. As first realized by the research of Dr. Fadel Zeidan, a neurobiologist and anatomy professor at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, and which was published in the Journal Neuroscience, people who practice meditation endure physical pain better than those who do not. This is important because it can be a good option for those patients who suffer from chronic pain.
Another benefit from mindful meditation is stress reduction. As suggested by a number of articles, such as Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-being, mindfulness programs can help to reduce anxiety, stress and depression, which implies that these kinds of therapies can help in the treatment of these problems.
These methods can be extremely helpful for those patients who are chronically depressed or stressed, rather than those who are sporadically depressed or stressed. This contributes to the fact that in the long term, these problems would be reduced thanks to the impact of meditation.
Today, there are facilities like the Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders and Complicated Grief Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital, where psychologists and psychiatrists are working to find the causes and treatments for pain, anxiety and/or stress. When they use meditation as a part of their treatment, they found people who meditated had more gray-matter density in their brains, known to be important for learning and memory, and in structures associated with self-awareness, compassion, and introspection. In addition, participants maintained more gray-matter despite getting older. There is evidence that this kind of therapy directly affects the biological aspects of those who practice mediation and as a result, they have a more positive outlook.
If we apply mediation therapies to the business world, we can clearly see the benefits the employees would gain; things like fewer mistakes, due to reduced stress, an increase in productivity, a more clear, defined vision, a positive mindset, to name a few.
By decreasing our stress levels, meditation helps us thrive in all aspects of life, both personally and professionally.
This article was originally published in Eureka