Meditation. Why should you take up this lifestyle medicine and where is the evidence?
Meditation is for everyone.
People often associate it with 'woo woo' reactions but I'm here to show you that meditation is scientifically proven.
Meditation and medicine come from the same latin route MEDERI which means 'to heal'. The Roman's knew about it back them and Neuroscience is now catching on.
Meditation has been scientifically proven to reduce addiction, depression, anxiety, stress, cognitive function, and even eating disorders. According to Balance magazine there are now 1,300 mindful apps available and Headspace has been downloaded over 11 million times and has 8.5M active users. My aim by the time you've read this blog is that you introduce meditation into your life even if its twice a week, it is still effective. So if you lack control? Overeat? Suffer from anxiety? Chronically stressed? Read on.
Did you also know that meditating can also change your brain structurally?
I picked up a copy of this months Balance mag which had a great article on mindful facts; 'magnetic resonance (MR) images have shown that daily meditation for eight weeks increases grey matter density in the hippocampus - the part of the brain associated with learning and memory. Meanwhile it decreases in the amygdale, which is responsible for feelings of stress and anxiety.
I've been meditating everyday for ten days.
I started again after a recent trek. Each time we reached the top of the mountain we'd sit for a guided meditation. I can't say I've had life changing, massive shifts but I feel better. I feel clearer, calmer and controlled. I dip in and out of meditation throughout the year but I know its a lifestyle medicine that's only beneficial so I'm making sure I schedule it in most days.
Where is the evidence?
An Exploratory Study of a Meditation-Based Intervention for Binge Eating Disorder
Kristeller, J. L., & Hallett, C. B. (1999). An exploratory study of a meditation-based intervention for binge eating disorder. Journal of Health Psychology, 4(3), 357–363. Retrieved from http://hpq.sagepub.com/content/4/3/357.short
Effectiveness of a Meditation-Based Stress Reduction Program in the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders
Kabat-Zinn, J., Massion, A. O., Kristeller, J., Peterson, L. G., Fletcher, K. E., Pbert, L., Lenderking, W. R., & Santorelli, S. F. (1992). Effectiveness of a meditation-based stress reduction program in the treatment of anxiety disorders. American Journal of Psychiatry, 149(7), 936–943. Retrieved from http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/abs/10.1176/ajp.149.7.936
Three-Year Follow-Up and Clinical Implications of a Mindfulness Meditation-Based Stress Reduction Intervention in the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders
Miller, J. J., Fletcher, K., & Kabat-Zinn, J. (1995). Three-year follow-up and clinical implications of a mindfulness meditation-based stress reduction intervention in the treatment of anxiety disorders. General Hospital Psychiatry, 17(3), 192–200. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/016383439500025M
Meditation Health Benefits: What the Practice Does to Your Body
Melnick, M. Meditation health benefits: What the practice does to your body. (2013). The Huffington Post.
Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/30/meditation-health- benefits_n_3178731.html
(All studies taken from Institute for Integrative Nutrition.)