The Science Behind Meditation
Ever wondered what happens on a neurological and physiological level when we meditate?
I explored this very subject in my latest feature for leading well-being industry publication, COVER magazine. You can read an extract below and the full feature here.
Meditation is a tried and tested tool used by many across the world to help improve their overall mental health and well-being. According to research from Bupa, “26% of UK adults say they have meditated as a way to improve their mental wellbeing in the past five years”. Other statistics from Mental Health First Aid England (MHFA) reveal that 828,000 workers were “suffering from work-related stress, depression and anxiety” in 2019/2020. And that’s before the pandemic hit. We can only begin to imagine what those statistics would look like now.
On a personal level, my life is infinitely better now that I have developed a daily meditation practice. I am able to notice when anxiety taps on my window and attempts to scare the living daylights out of me. I’m able to acknowledge it and sit with it. I am better equipped at dealing with most of the stresses of day to day life. When someone says something that I might perceive as ‘out of turn’, I don’t find myself bubbling up with red hot anger and nor do I find myself in a sulk if someone doesn’t do something in the way that I expected them to (not all the time, anyway. I’m calm but I’m not perfect). I react to people with empathy and compassion. And I can say with conviction that meditation is key to me feeling this way.
Why? Because over time we learn to bring awareness to our breathing; taking slower, fuller and deeper inhales and exhales. Not only does this improve our quality of breath, but in turn this improved quality of breath leads to improved physiological functions, such as cognitive function - our ability to learn and concentrate on tasks - and it helps to improve symptoms of chronic pain and mental health conditions such as anxiety, stress and depression.
Continue reading here.