And the best thing about it: You don't have to do much at all. All you need to do is sit comfortably, close your eyes and pay attention to your breath.
Meditation is more than a nice relaxation exercise for in between times. Scientific studies have shown numerous tangible benefits:
1. Meditation helps you achieve your goals
It's no coincidence that meditation is an integral part of the daily lives of many successful people, including Oprah Winfrey and Hugh Jackman. It's been scientifically proven that just ten minutes of meditation a day can sharpen your focus, even if you've never meditated before. Meditation helps you better block out distractions and focus on one thing at a time. How to get more done in less time. Can work better under time prere.   Study: Dailymail (2017): Just 10 Minutes of Meditation Does Wonders to Your Brain and Allows Anxious People to Focus
A 2006 study even showed that meditation changes your brain. In people who meditate regularly, the prefrontal cortex was more densely connected. For example, this part of your brain helps you make decisions, control impulses, and plan complex actions. In other words, meditation improves your self-control.   Research: Scinexx – the knowledge magazine (2010) Frontal brain enables reward deferral
When your schedule is full again and you feel like you're just spinning on the hamster wheel, the things that are close to your heart often get short shrift. Meditation creates a small break from everyday life and helps you to become more aware of your own thoughts and feelings: Why am I doing this and what do I want to achieve in life?? Focusing on a goal that truly matches your personal values is the key to success.   Values as the Basis for Motivation: US National Library of Medicine / National Institutes of Health (2019) Using Personal Vaules to Understand the Motivational Basis of Amity Goal Orientation
Spend some time with yourself every day. – Dalai Lama
2. Meditation makes the kilos fall off more easily
We all know that it's not a good idea to sit down in front of the TV in the evening with a bag of chips and that an apple is a healthier afternoon snack than a piece of chocolate cake. Time and time again, we take it upon ourselves to change our diet, only to fall back into old patterns after a short time.
Researchers from Canada have shown that healthy eating starts in the mind. In a meta-analysis, they compared a total of 18 studies that examined the effect of mindfulness training and meditation on weight loss. Although participants initially lost more weight through other measures such as exercise, meditation and mindfulness training produced the best long-term results. Subjects who participated in exercise or diet programs actually gained weight over the long term, while those who participated in meditation programs steadily lost weight.   Mindfulness exercises and weight loss: K Carrière, B. Khoury, M. M. Gunak, B. Knauper/Obesity Reviews (2017) Mindfulness-based Interventions for Weight Loss: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
The positive effects could be attributed to the fact that meditation helps to better regulate negative emotions and we learn to eat more mindfully and, for example, pay more attention to our natural sense of hunger.   Meditation regulates emotions: Focus (2016) Slim through meditation
3. Meditation makes you age slower
People who have been through a stressful time often appear to have aged years. In fact, chronic stress affects our cellular health. An important marker of our biological age are the so-called telomeres, which sit protectively at the ends of our chromosomes. You can think of them as the plastic caps on your shoelaces that keep them from fraying. As we age, telomeres continue to shorten until they can no longer perform their function properly. This causes a cell to stop dividing at some point .   How the ends of chromosomes affect cell aging: University of Heidelberg (2013) Function of telomeres in cellular aging processes Such cells are called senescent and can u.a. Promote inflammation in the body.   Remedies for senescence: pharmaceutical newspaper (2018) anti-aging and more
Several studies have shown that stressed people had shorter telomeres, meaning they were biologically older and more susceptible to age-related diseases than their more relaxed peers.   Meditation and the aging process: Guardian (2016) Could Meditation Really Help Slow the Aging Process? Through meditation we can reduce stress and slow down our cellular aging in this way.   Meditation and cellular aging: US National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health (2016) Zen meditation, Length of Telomeres and the Role of Experiental Avoidance and Compassion
There is evidence that meditation can actually "rejuvenate" cells. A study of cancer patients who made a number of lifestyle changes, including meditation, found that the telomeres of these participants became ten percent longer within five years.   How Lifestyle Lengthens Telomeres: University of California (2013) Lifestyle Changes May Lengthen Telomeres, A Measure of Cell-aging
Meditation reminds us that situations like moving to a new city or a job with a lot going on are not stressful in themselves, but our reaction to them is. Studies have shown that meditation can help us experience certain situations as less threatening and be more relaxed with events over which we have relatively little control.   Meditation and cellular aging: US National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health (2011): Can meditation slow rate of cellular aging?? Cognitive Stress, Mindfulness and Telomeres
4. Meditation makes you creative
"Every child is an artist. The only problem is to remain an artist while growing up", as Pablo Picasso already knew. In fact, researcher George Land noted in the 1960s that children are much more resourceful than adults. He used a creativity test he developed for none other than NASA to study the creative potential of five-year-old children. The surprising result: Compared to only two percent of adults, 98% of children are highly creative! Unfortunately, as researchers also noted in later studies, we seem to lose this ability as we grow up.   Study: Creativity is learned: Griffith University Queensland Australia (2005) Fresh Thinking drives Creativity and Innovation
The good news is that we don't completely lose our creativity, we just have difficulty accessing our creative potential. A study could show that meditation can strengthen our creative thinking. However, this does not work with any kind of relaxation, but by practicing the so called "open observation meditation. Here you perceive thoughts and feelings without judging them or going further into them. It's a little different than so-called focused meditation, where you concentrate on a specific body part, for example.   Meditation and creativity: Leiden University Netherlands / Frontiers in Psychology (2012) Meditate to Create: The Impact of Focused-Attention and Open-Monitoring Training on Convergent and Divergent Thinking
If you want to bring your inner child back to life and rediscover your creativity, we can recommend 7Mind's very helpful meditation app.
5. Meditation is more restful than vacation
US-American researchers wanted to know which is healthier: vacation or meditation. To do this, they studied two groups of women who either participated in a six-day meditation retreat or who were simply vacationing at the same resort. None of these participants had any previous experience with meditation. They were also compared with a third group of women who also attended a retreat and were already meditating regularly. Experiment blood samples. Examined various biomarkers.
After the six days at the resort, all the women felt less stressed and in a better mood. However, the recovery effect was short-lived for the vacation-only women. Women who had meditated still felt happier and more relaxed than before ten months later. Meditation also had a measurable positive effect on participants' cellular health.   The effects of meditation and vacation: E.S. Epel, E. Puterman, J. Lin, E.H. Blackburn, P.Y. Lum, N.D. Beckman, J. Zhu, E. Lee, A. Gilbert, R.A. Rissman, R.E. Tanzi, E.E. Schadt /Translational Psychiatry (2016): Meditation and Vacation Effects have an Impact on Desease-Associated Molecular Phenotypes
Another study showed that improving your mood also makes you healthier. Carolyn Fang of Temple University in Philadelphia studied people who participated in an eight-week program of mindfulness-based stress reduction, a mix of meditation, yoga and mindfulness exercises. It turned out that the participants not only felt significantly better after this program, but also had a stronger immune system: An increase in killer cells was detected in their blood. These ensure that diseased cells are killed off.   Defenses and Meditation: US National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health (2010): Enhanced Psychosocial Well-Being Following Participation in a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program is Associated with Increased with Natural Killer Cell Activity
You can't stop a flock of birds from flying over your head. But you can stop it from nesting in your hair. – Martin Luther
6. Meditation helps with headaches and migraines
Anyone who has ever had a migraine knows how much it can disable you. Meditation may not prevent headaches or migraines, but it has a measurable positive effect on both pain intensity and pain frequency. This was the conclusion of a meta-analysis comparing a total of eleven studies that examined the effects of meditation on migraine and tension headaches.   Meditation and headaches: US National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health (2018): Mindfulness Meditation for Primary Headache Pain: A Meta-Analysis
It is not entirely clear how meditation affects our perception of pain. It may be related to people learning to tolerate pain better .   Meditation and migraines: Monika Tomova/Headspace (2017): New Research on How to Easy the Discomfort of Migraines Maybe it's also because we reduce stress through mindfulness training, which is considered a common trigger for headaches . Meditation trains your mindfulness. Offers you numerous advantages. Ten minutes a day is enough to improve your health and well-being.   Study: Dailymail (2017): Just 10 Minutes of Meditation Does Wonders to Your Brain and Allows Anxious People to Focus Or, in the words of Hugh Jackman, "When I meditate my energy is positive and I feel closer to people. I am freer."
This guest contribution comes from the author Maria Rockmann, who supports us energetically from far away Australia. She lives there with her husband and two children.
 Values as the Basis for Motivation: US National Library of Medicine / National Institutes of Health (2019) Using Personal Vaules to Understand the Motivational Basis of Amity Goal Orientation
 Mindfulness exercises and weight loss: K Carrière, B. Khoury, M. M. Gunak, B. Knauper/Obesity Reviews (2017) Mindfulness-based Interventions for Weight Loss: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
 Meditation regulates emotions: Focus (2016) Slim through meditation
 How the ends of chromosomes affect cell aging: University of Heidelberg (2013) Function of telomeres in cellular aging processes
 Remedy for senescence: Pharmazeutische Zeitung (2018) Anti-aging and more
 Meditation and cellular aging: US National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health (2016) Zen meditation, Length of Telomeres and the Role of Experiental Avoidance and Compassion
 How Lifestyle Lengthens Telomeres: University of California (2013) Lifestyle Changes May Lengthen Telomeres, A Measure of Cell-aging
 Meditation and cellular aging: US National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health (2011): Can Meditation slow Rate of Cellular Aging?? Cognitive Stress, Mindfulness and Telomeres
 Study: Creativity is learned: Griffith University Queensland Australia (2005) Fresh Thinking drives Creativity and Innovation
 The effects of meditation and vacation: E.S. Epel, E. Puterman, J. Lin, E.H. Blackburn, P.Y. Lum, N.D. Beckman, J. Zhu, E. Lee, A. Gilbert, R.A. Rissman, R.E. Tanzi, E.E.