If you’re like millions of Americans, you’re probably stressed out. Meditation is a do-anywhere practice you can use to fight the effects of stress.
In small doses, stress isn’t bad, but chronic stress can have serious health implications. Harvard researchers estimate that 80 percent of doctor’s visits are caused by stress (1). It can affect cognitive abilities such as your mood, sleep-wake cycle, and productivity.
If you like feeling good, sleeping well, and getting things done, meditation can be a powerful stress relieving tool. When I founded Ziva Meditation in 2011, I had one goal: to use meditation to rid the body of stress in order to help high performers be at the top of their game. Here’s how meditation can help you reach your peak.
4 ways meditation benefits your health
1. It can boost your mood.
Meditation floods the brain with what I like to call bliss chemicals—dopamine and serotonin. These chemicals can reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, psychological stress, and even physical pain (2). A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that meditation helps heal depression and anxiety about as effectively as antidepressants (3). Experienced meditators even appear to have unique brains with well-developed regions that may be connected to awareness and emotional control (4).
2. You’ll have more restful sleep.
The style of meditation I teach at Ziva gives the body deep, healing rest to get rid of stress from the past and sets aside a custom designed time to get rid of stress in the body, so you can use your sleep as a time for sleep. When a group of adults who had trouble sleeping completed either a mindfulness-awareness program or a sleep education class, those in the mindfulness group had significantly less insomnia, fatigue, and depression at the end of the six two-hour sessions, found research in JAMA Internal Medicine (5). Before I learned to meditate, I was suffering from a multi-month bout of insomnia, and on the very first day I meditated, I slept through the night and have every night since.
3. You can improve your productivity.
There’s a reason why major corporations like Apple, Aetna, Google, Nike, and HBO incorporate meditation into the workplace: it makes you a better worker. Research has shown that meditation has been shown to improve memory, and enhance creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. In a recent study of meditation for people with ADHD, 78% of participants reported a reduction in total ADHD symptoms, with 30% reporting at least a 30% symptom reduction (6).
You don’t have to be an experienced practitioner to reap meditation benefits, either. Even in people new to meditation, some studies suggest the practice is linked with significant changes in parts of the brain linked with memory, perspective, and self-awareness (7).
4. Your immune system gets a boost.
Most meditators can kiss sick days goodbye. A new study shows that meditators showed significantly more antibodies than non-meditators, suggesting that their immune systems are more primed to defend against an attack (8). I can attest to the immune improving powers—I wasn’t sick for over 8 years after I began meditating, and many of my students and staff report similar meditation benefits.
Dive into meditation now
Once you learn to meditate, you walk away with a powerful daily practice that you can use for life, and it’s more accessible than you might think.
At Ziva, there’s no clearing your mind, uncomfortable positions, or patchouli required. If you live in NYC, you are invited to join us for a free Intro to Ziva Meditation talk at our beautiful Soho studio, with the course following that week, 2 hours per day for 4 consecutive days.
Not in NYC or want to learn from home? Join our online meditation program, zivaONLINE. In only 2 weeks, we’ll help you reduce the stress in your body so you can perform at the top of your game. zivaONLINE is a proven, in-depth training that will give you the tools you need to be a self-sufficient meditator reap the benefits of meditation.
What do you have to lose, besides stress?