Why everyone should begin to meditate

Many studies show benefits of meditation, including increased focus and decreased stress.

Anant Naik

Over the past several centuries, saints and mystics around the world have encouraged people to meditate to find inner peace. Even scientists have recently found evidence to suggest that everyone could benefit from more meditation. As a result, a practice once used as a mystical way to understand the forces of life is becoming a popular method to relax and to attain a peaceful state of mind.

Though there are many kinds of meditation, almost all of them involve concentrating on an object. The object might be a thought, image, internal energy or God. However, the act of concentration and self-withdrawal remains the same.

Zoran Josipovic, a professor from New York University, published a study in which he observed Tibetan Buddhist monks’ brain activity while they were meditating. He found that the monks had higher brain connectivity, which means that their brains are able to communicate between different lobes more effectively than they normally would.

This confirmed an earlier study conducted by Eileen Luders at the UCLA School of Medicine. Her research suggested that long-term practitioners of meditation have the capacity to change the physical structure of their brains by repairing white matter and forming new neurological connections. Test subjects were given a cognitive exam, and researchers examined whether the time the subjects spent meditating impacted how well they scored. The cognitive test measured the efficacy of the neurological connections between the different lobes of the brain.

This research has many implications. It suggests that meditation could help repair parts of the brain and thus help treat or prevent mental disorders. With meditation increasing the neuroplasticity of white matter, the brain experiences an improvement in its self-regulatory mechanisms. Michael Posner of the University of Oregon explains that most mental disorders are due to the brain’s inability to self-regulate.

Research has also indicated that meditation can improve concentration. The University of North Carolina showed in a study that students at the school were able to increase their concentration by meditating for about 20 minutes a day for four days.

Furthermore, meditation has been shown to reduce stress. The University of Ottawa found that meditation was effective in lowering patients’ stress levels in the hospital setting.

Although meditation might not completely remedy our daily anxieties, it is definitely an area that all people, including college students, should explore. As University of Minnesota students return to their studies, stress levels are likely to increase. Meditation is a good way to remedy this.

Students can achieve significant increases in focus simply by meditating for 20 minutes each day. In our own ways, all of us are scientists. We should all experiment to see whether meditation has any place in our lives.