Better sleep at night – and more dreams – bring life to your days!
Sleep isn’t just eight hours a day of relaxation – it’s been proven to play a critical role in immune function, metabolism, memory, learning, and other vital functions. Some studies confirm that meditating gives you all sorts of benefits like sleeping longer, waking up feeling refreshed, and feeling more positive in the mornings. Researchers wanted to see if mindfulness meditation would benefit those struggling with chronic insomnia. After eight weeks, those in the meditation program had less total wake time during the night, were more relaxed before going to bed, and reduced the severity of their sleep problems. Plus, in a follow up six months later, the insomnia sufferers had maintained a better quality of sleep.
Less stress means more happiness!
It’s a little-known secret that Wall Street execs, famous artists, and Silicon Valley whiz kids are some of the biggest advocates of meditation as a way to manage stress. Furthermore, we now know it even reduces employee stress and burnout. A study on teachers who attended a mindfulness training program and practiced daily meditation for 8 weeks showed reduced symptoms of burnout and teachers confirmed that the training was beneficial for both the students and themselves.
A slimmer middle – and no dieting!
We know that meditating helps with stress, and stress is linked to overeating – but what about possible meditation benefits for weight loss? Can meditating help you eat healthier and lose weight? Researchers at UC San Francisco studied a group of overweight women to test this idea. The scientists didn’t prescribe any diet, but instead taught mindful eating, and had participants meditate for thirty minutes a day. What happened? While the control group actually gained weight, the treatment participants maintained their weights, plus lowered their cortisol levels. Higher reductions in cortisol and stress also showed higher reductions in abdominal fat.
Relieve pain by changing your mind – literally!
Jon Kabat- Zinn, who heads up the Centre for Mindfulness in Medicine at University of Massachusetts Medical School, proved back in the ‘80s Recently, we’ve also gotten a look at how the brain might be involved. When researchers had people participate in four days of mindfulness-based training, participants reported less pain intensity and unpleasantness. What’s more, MRIs showed reductions in pain-induced cerebral blood flow during meditation sessions.
To Beat Anxiety Take control of your thoughts and send worries packing. Focusing on all the terrible things that might happen to us – but often don’t! – takes us away from the present, and causes our bodies a lot of stress. Dr. Elizabeth Hoge, a psychiatrist and assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, found that meditating could even help those with generalized anxiety disorder, a condition marked by hard-to-control worries, poor sleep, and irritability.
A happy pill, with no side effects!
Meditating helps us gain awareness of our minds, so we can see negative thoughts and say “those thoughts are not me.” Becoming less identified with our emotions and thoughts helps those thoughts lose power. A Harvard study found that mind-wandering – which often means drifting to these negative thoughts – was linked to unhappiness. Recently, Madhav Goyal, who led a study by Johns Hopkins researchers said that for depression, “we found a roughly 10 to 20 percent improvement in depressive symptoms compared to the placebo groups. This is similar to the effects of antidepressants in similar populations.”
Forget about those little things that used to bother you.
Relaxing your body and mind with meditation helps you to stay centered when you inevitably encounter those everyday stresses – rush hour traffic, anyone? Investigators from the Benson-Henry Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital found that practicing meditation causes what is called the “relaxation response”, the opposite of the “fight-or-flight” response – what happens to our bodies when we get stressed. Their studies showed that the relaxation response alleviates anxiety and also has positive effects on heart rate, blood pressure, and brain activity.
Your partner will thank you!
By learning to better recognize your own emotions, and those of others, you’ll more easily experience lasting harmony in your relationships. Researchers from the University of California-San Francisco taught 82 female teachers, all married or living with a partner, how to meditate. Compared with a control group that hadn’t learned meditation, the women gave fewer negative facial expressions during a marital interaction test. Good news, because studies at Berkeley University showed that people who demonstrate negative facial expressions toward their partners are more likely to divorce.
A shortcut to getting what you want in life.
Maybe you’ve heard that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to be great at something. The Beatles played 1,200 concerts together before becoming internationally known. Bill Gates started programming in eighth grade. But new research shows there’s a different formula for success. World-class athletes, top managers and world-class performers, when tested, have all shown high levels of what’s called brain integration. This means that their brains are wired with strong connections between the different areas, they have heightened attention, and they’re able to think quickly to deal with problems. This is the new key to success, as noted by US neuroscientist Dr. Fred Travis, because it’s the fire starter behind the creativity that often leads to success. Luckily, a study from Harvard Medical School demonstrated that meditating causes changes in brain waves that actually improve the brain’s functionality. You can find success in any area of your life, and just think of all the time you’ll save! Hopefully these studies have convinced you about the benefits of meditation for your health and well being. So what are you waiting for? Give it a try!
Why not join one of our meditation classes today! £15 for 90 minutes