15 Reasons to Meditate: The Research

Meditation is one of the best ways to practice mindfulness.

It can literally rewire the electrical circuits you have coursing through your brain.

If mindfulness is all about learning to be in the moment with acceptance, you can see how it helps to counteract escapism, which is so often the reason we turn to porn.

Rather than trying to get away from the moment/emotion/situation with porn, we can learn to be engaged in the entirety of the human experience.

We only get one life. Do we really want to spend so much time trying to escape it? This is such an important question when it comes to quitting porn.

Besides, being engaged in real life is so much better than escaping it.

What the Research Shows

1. Medical professionals give their backing to mindfulness

In a recent study by the UK Mental Health Foundation, 68 percent of GPs agreed that it would be helpful for their patients to learn mindfulness-based meditation techniques—even for those without any health problems. The only difficulty is that most of these doctors said they didn’t know where to find the appropriate mindfulness resources—enter Headspace.

2. Meditation activates parts of the brain related to happiness

If you’re the kind of person who is very resilient and optimistic, then there’s a good chance that the front left-hand side of your brain is very active. If, on the other hand, you tend to get quite anxious and caught up in lots of negative thinking, then it will be the front right-hand side of the brain which is more active. Neuroscientists at the University of Wisconsin found that after just eight weeks of mindfulness practice, participants experienced a significant change in the activity from right to left, which corresponded with increased feelings of happiness and well-being.

3. Mindfulness reduces the intensity of negative emotions

Neuroscientists from UCLA recently discovered that people who practice mindfulness techniques experience negative emotions less intensely than those who do not. They found that by “labeling” these emotions and thereby becoming more aware of them, the intensity was significantly reduced. So, the next time you find yourself writing a retaliatory e-mail or wanting to shout at your partner in a fit of rage, label your anger “anger” and you might just avoid having to make an embarrassing apology.”

4. Meditation unwinds the harmful effects of stress

It’s a well known fact that stress has a significant impact on our health. In the past, doctors have found that the “stress response” can increase blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and even lead to strokes, hypertension and coronary heart disease. It also impacts the immune system and has been shown to reduce the chances of conception. In contrast, meditation has been shown to evoke the “relaxation response,” where blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate and oxygen consumption all decrease, while the immune system is given a significant boost.

5. Mindfulness has been proven to reduce anxiety

A few years back the University of Massachusetts Medical School investigated the effects of mindfulness-based meditation on a group of people suffering with generalized anxiety disorder. An incredible 90 percent of the participants documented significant reductions in anxiety and depression, following just eight weeks of learning. Even more surprisingly, in a recent follow-up, three years after the initial experiment, the researchers found that these improvements had been maintained.”

6. Meditation changes the shape of your brain

Researchers from the University of Montreal investigated the difference in brain responses of meditators and non-meditators when they experienced pain. The scientists found that the areas of the brain which regulate pain and emotion were significantly thicker in meditators compared to non-meditators. This is important, because the thicker the region, the lower the pain sensitivity. This potential for change in the brain is known as neuroplasticity. It means that when you sit to meditate, not only are you changing your perspective, but you could also be changing the physical structure of the brain.”

7. Mindfulness offers an enhanced quality of life

In a randomized control study, researchers found that a mindfulness-based approach was more effective than medication in preventing the relapse of depression. Now clearly there are some situations when medication is required, but this study makes for interesting reading. In just six months, 75 percent of the mindfulness practitioners completely discontinued their medication. The researchers also found that they were less likely to relapse. Not only that, but they experienced an “enhanced quality of life” compared to those on medication.”

8. Meditation can help to clear your skin

A Professor of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School undertook a study to see if meditation could influence the healing of psoriasis, a treatable skin condition that has a strong relationship with psychological stress. With clear implications for other stress-related skin conditions, they found that the meditators’ skin cleared at about four times the rate of the non-meditators’ skin.”

9. Mindfulness relieves anxiety and depression

In a comprehensive analysis of thirty-nine different studies, researchers from Boston University examined how effective mindfulness had been in treating anxiety and depression in patients suffering from other illness. They found that meditation had a significant effect on the symptoms across a wide range of health disorders. The researchers concluded the benefits are so far-reaching because meditators learn how to work better with difficulties in general, and so therefore experience less stress in life.

10. Meditation may help improve your chances of conceiving

A recent study from Oxford University, investigating the impact of stress on 274 healthy women aged between eighteen and forty, found that stress can reduce the chances of women conceiving. The head of the research team suggested that techniques such as meditation could be instrumental in combating this decline in fertility.”

11. Meditation related to self control

Researchers investigating the effectiveness of mindfulness found that after just five days of meditating for a very short time, participants showed increased blood flow to the area of the brain that helps to control emotions and behavior. After eleven hours of meditation had been completed, actual physical changes in this part of the brain had occurred. Perhaps unsurprisingly then, in preliminary studies mindfulness has been shown to be effective in the treatment of drug addiction, smoking and eating disorders. In one such study, binge eating decreased by over 50 percent in just forty-two days.

12. Mindfulness improves performance under stress

Neuroscientists at the University of Pennsylvania investigated whether mindfulness could help offset the loss of mental performance of Marines in stressful situations. In the words of the lead researcher, “Building mind-fitness with mindfulness training can help anyone who must maintain peak performance in the face of extremely stressful circumstances, from first responders, relief workers and trauma surgeons, to professional and Olympic athletes.”

13. Meditation can halve the time it takes to get to sleep

Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School developed an effective approach to sleep which incorporated meditation as an integral component. The study found that 58 percent of diagnosed insomniacs reported significant improvements and 91 percent of those using medication either reduced their dose or stopped taking it completely. In a separate, but related study at Stanford Medical Center, neuroscientists discovered that, after just six weeks of mindfulness, participants were able to fall asleep in half the time than usual—averaging twenty minutes instead of forty minutes.

14. Mindfulness can help you to meet that deadline

In several mindfulness-based studies, researchers have found that practitioners showed significant improvements in their cognitive skills after only four days of training. They performed particularly well on physical and mental tasks requiring sustained attention—and also in stressful tasks performed under time constraints. I’ll leave it up to the experts of just one of those studies to give you their verdict: “The meditation group did especially better on all the cognitive tests that were timed … In tasks where participants had to process information under time constraints causing stress, the group that briefly trained in mindfulness performed significantly better.”

15. Meditation keeps you bright and alert

Researchers at Emory University in the US set about comparing the brains and cognitive skills of meditators to a similar group of non-meditators. In the control group they found that the older participants had lower accuracy and speed of response, as you might expect. However, this age-related decline was not found in the meditators. Using sophisticated brain-mapping techniques they discovered that the reduction in gray matter that typically comes with aging had actually been offset by the meditation.”

Conclusion

Meditation doesn’t have to be mystical or woo woo. There are simple, practical ways to start practicing it. I personally like the Headspace meditation app.

All meditation is is practicing being present with what IS. Just think how this can benefit you in your efforts to quit porn.

With increased awareness comes increased power. And with increased power comes an increased capacity to change.

Notes From: Andy Puddicombe. “The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness.” Apple Books.

Check out this book on the Book Store: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-headspace-guide-to-meditation-and-mindfulness/id476340795


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