If you have ever been interested in meditation , you will have realized that it is a practice whose fruits are not collected overnight. Meditating requires months of practice, perseverance and, as much as it may not seem physically 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 people give up 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 one can also find some scientific publications that serve to shed light on the question that everyone wants to know: what are the benefits of meditation that have a scientific basis?
Some benefits of meditation that probably exist
Although meditation has been engendered in a philosophy and culture far from Western rationalism, there are some studies that show possible effects of meditation, surely because of its possible therapeutic application at very low prices. Below you will find a list of some of these possible benefits of meditation that are supported by science research groups.
However, we must bear in mind that these scientific articles serve to describe correlations and give them an interpretation, although it is not very well known how changes are produced in our body through these century-old practices.
1. Mitigates the effects of stress
Some research indicates that the continued practice of meditation helps to combat stress and its adverse effects. For example, research involving cancer patients showed improvement not only in terms of stress, but also in symptoms of depression, confusion and other scales in both men and women.
2.May have positive effects on the immune system
It has been shown that a number of volunteers in a Mindfulness program developed more antibodies to the flu, which means that one of the benefits of meditation can impact the immune system. The article was published in Psychosomatic Medicine .
3. Improves attention span
It has been proven in multitasking tests (doing several things at once) and in a study on attentional blink, which occurs when one stimulus is overshadowed by another that precedes it with little time between them and therefore the individual is only aware of the first one. 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 for empathizing and connecting with others
Another probable benefit of meditation is found in the relationship with others. A few minutes of meditation have been shown to be effective in predisposing people to closer personal contact with strangers.
5.Increases tolerance for pain
Four days of Mindfulness have been shown 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 sessions of Mindfulness can translate into improved working memory and visuospatial processing.
7.Encourages the emergence of positive thoughts
Among the benefits of meditation, one that cannot be missed is that of positive psychology, one of the currents that makes most use of relaxation practices. A certain type of meditation has been shown to help keep unadaptive beliefs at bay, maintain habits with important meaning, and generally think positively.
- DeRose, Master (1995). Advanced Yôga, Swásthya Yôga Shástra. Buenos Aires: Deva’s de Longseller.
- Jung, Carl Gustav (2008). Complete work: Volume 11. About the Psychology of Western and Eastern Religion. XIV. About the psychology of oriental meditation (1943/1948). Madrid: Trotta.