10 Things We Know About the Science of Meditation - Mindful
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... is a collection of practices aimed at helping us to cultivate moment-to-moment awareness of ourselves and our environment.
Meditation helps to counter our tendency to stop paying attention to new information in our environment. Other studies have found that mindfulness meditation can reduce mind-wandering and improve attention.
Larger randomized controlled trials are still needed to understand how meditation might work with other treatments to help people manage attention-deficit disorders.
Long-term, consistent meditation mindfulness changes our ability to handle stress in a better, more sustainable way.
Meditation also makes our compassion more effective.
Meditation does seem to be generally effective for your well-being, but it is equal to many other steps you can take to stay healthy, such as exercise or therapy.
Studies have found a positive link between mindfulness and relationship quality in romantic relationships and relationships with kids.
Mindfulness practice seems to activate the part of the brain involved in empathy and emotional regulation.
There is some good evidence that meditation affects physiological indices of health, but other factors like education or exercise could also have a role to play.
For individuals who have experienced some sort of trauma, meditating can evoke painful experiences that they may not be prepared to confront.
One study found many of the participants experienced fear, anxiety, panic, numbness, or extreme sensitivity to light and sound that they attributed to meditation.
The type of meditation you choose matters if you want to tackle a specific issue.
Studies have been made to compare four different types of meditation and they found that each type has its own unique benefits.
Research has yet to arrive at a consensus about how long meditation should take.
Perhaps the best guide is “You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day—unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour" - Old Zen saying.
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Many styles of meditation can help reduce stress.
Less stress leads to less anxiety.
Regular meditation helps reduce anxiety and anxiety-related mental health issues like social anxiety, phobias and obsessive-compulsive behaviors.
Some types of meditation can improve depression and help you maintain these benefits.
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Mindful breathing can interrupt our stress and fight-or-flight reactions—meditation may “quiet” the amygdala, the area of the brain that responds to stress.
When we multitask, our concentration levels deplete But the simple act of returning to the breath, over and over again, builds the “muscle” of attention, helping you both stay on task and recognize distractions.
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While popular, researchers say there is a serious lack of evidence to back up mindfulness apps, even though they are increasingly perceived as proven treatments for mental health.
A handful of studies have been published on the efficacy of mindfulness apps, thanks in part to Headspace, one of the most popular apps in the field. In hopes of getting its app scientifically validated, the organization has partnered on more than 60 studies with 35 academic institutions. In the meantime, in lieu of research proving that apps work, marketers tend to draw misleading, but attractive claims.
Mindfulness disrupts unhelpful habits. If you get distracted easily or have addictions, mindfulness helps curb these habits. But, in contrast, apps become popular and profitable by getting users lightly addicted to repetitive use. So, can an app really treat addiction, or is it inherently part of the problem? As of now, we don’t know the answer to that question.
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