If you have ever been interested in meditation , you will have realized that it is a practice whose fruits are not harvested overnight. Meditating requires months of practice, perseverance and, although it may not seem physically very demanding, it also requires effort.
If we add to this the fact that the supposed benefits of meditation are not always well supported empirically and sometimes consist of simple New Age proclamations , it is not surprising that some leave after the first days of practice, exhausted and unmotivated by the apparent lack of immediate incentives.
However, among the oceans of opinions and value judgments about meditation you can also find some scientific publications that serve to shed light on the issue that everyone wants to know: what are the benefits of meditation that are scientifically based ?
Some benefits of meditation that probably exist
Despite the fact that meditation has been generated in a philosophy and culture far from Western rationalism, there are some studies that show possible effects of meditation, surely due to its possible therapeutic application at very low prices. Listed below are some of these possible benefits of meditation that are supported by research groups in science.
However, it must be borne in mind that these scientific articles serve to describe correlations and give them an interpretation, although it is not well known how changes in our body take place through these centuries-old practices.
1. Mitigate the effects of stress
Some research indicates that continued meditation practice helps combat stress and its adverse effects. For example, research involving cancer patients yielded data on improvement not only in terms of stress, but also in terms of symptoms of depression, confusion, and other scales, for both men and women.
2. It could have positive effects on the immune system
It has been verified how a series of volunteers under a Mindfulness program developed more antibodies to the flu, which means that one of the benefits of meditation can have an impact on the immune system. The article was published in Psychosomatic Medicine .
3. Improve attention span
It has been verified in multitasking tests (doing several things at the same time) and in a study on attentional blink, which occurs when a stimulus is overshadowed by another that precedes it with little time between them and therefore the individual only realizes the first. People who had been meditating showed a reduction in attentional blink, which means that they learned to better manage the resources of the brain on which attention depends.
4. It is useful to empathize and connect with others
Another of the probable benefits of meditation is found in relationship with others. A few minutes of meditation have proven effective in predisposing you to closer personal contact with unknown people.
5. Increase tolerance to pain
Four days of Mindfulness have been shown to be sufficient to reduce the sensation of pain and produce changes in the brain structures associated with pain processing.
6. Improves memory and other cognitive functions
A few Mindfulness sessions can translate into improved working memory and visualization processing.
7. Enhances the appearance of positive thoughts
Among the benefits of meditation, there could be one related to positive psychology, one of the currents that most uses relaxation practices. A certain type of meditation has been helpful in keeping less adaptive beliefs at bay, maintaining habits with important meaning, and generally thinking positively.