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The Science Behind Meditation

By Paige Greene
Web Content Contributor

Nearly everyone has experienced some type of anxiety or stress in their life. To control some of these feelings, many people have taken to meditation, but how does it work?

Meditation comes from mindfulness, a collection of processes that bring awareness to the present, and there are many different ways to meditate. These include guided meditation and simply sitting in silence focusing your breathing.

According to Mindful Magazine, studies suggest that “meditation helps mind and body bounce back from stress and stressful situations.” Our brains are capable of making chemicals like serotonin, which regulates many aspects of our daily life including our mood. Meditation has been proved to increase these serotonin levels, making it an encouraging form of therapy comparative to antidepressants. 

Unlike antidepressants, these practices increase serotonin levels without the given side effects. Meditation also releases hormones such as cortisol, melatonin and epinephrine, all of which affect different parts of our brain.

Just like how most of us go to the gym to work out our muscles and improve our health, meditation has been compared to be the workout of our brain. These workouts, if done regularly, can build resistance to worrying or distraction, and build your attention span. 

According to the EOC Institute, physical exercise increases our self-confidence, and meditation does the same. During the meditative state, self-judging thoughts disappear and trains our minds to go easy on us when it comes to criticizing our bodies. In turn, a positive body image then increases our self-confidence. 

Even with the benefits, certain types of meditation may not be for everyone. I often find myself thriving under stressful situations and a healthy level of stress, and every time I am forced to listen to guided meditation I am left in a bad mood. 

Even though I regularly fail at guided meditation, I still use music and often find many positives. All forms of meditation may not be for everyone, but there is definitely something out there everyone.

Here are a few meditation resources:

  • Headspace offers customers sets of guided meditations and meditative resources, along with many explanations for why it works.
  • MyLife offers a short, three-minute guided meditation to relieve stress for beginners. 
  • Spotify has many meditation music playlists for listeners looking for soft music. This peaceful meditation playlist offers five hours of meditative music.
  • Mindfulcity offers a list of 34 free, guided meditations for difficult times.  
  • For quick information, ASAP Science offers a three minute video about the power of meditation.

Featured image by Paige Greene.

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