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Meditation Research and Benefits

Research on the Benefits of Meditation for Stress Management

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Updated October 31, 2011

Meditation is a practice that has been around for centuries, bringing benefits that its practitioners could instinctively feel. More recently, research has validated those who have always known meditation to be a health-affirming and stress-relieving practice. Meditation research affirms that this simple and effective practice can have positive short-term effects and create long-term changes that can facillitate stress management and overall wellness. I've been blogging about meditation research over the years, and have linked that research here to provide a clearer picture of the benefits of meditation. While no single study provides the whole picture of the effects of meditation, the following list of studies does provide some important information that can illuminate a clearer picture of why meditation is worth the effort and how it can affect you. You'll also find additional resources that can help you get started with meditation.

1. Loving Kindness Meditation Can Lead To A Better and More Satisfying Life

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The loving kindness meditation can bring warmer feelings and greater resources. This study shows a steady and significant increase in positive feelings like joy and contentment, as well as an increase in personal resources, in a group who underwent a 9-week program focused on this meditation technique. Discover more about these benefits, and find instructions for practicing loving kindness meditation now.

2. Regular Meditation Is Associated With Life Satisfaction In People Like You!

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There have been many studies showing that those who meditate regularly feel less stressed and more satisfied with life than those who do not. This study is particularly interesting because the sample population consisted of people like you--those who visit online websites. Learn more about the main differences between those who meditate regularly and those who do not, and find resources to start a more regular practice.

3. Loving Kindness Meditation Is An Effective Route to Forgiveness

When we have been wronged, many of us find it difficult to let go and forgive. This study shows that after an 8-week mindfulness meditation program, participants found that forgiveness came more easily for them. Find out more about how to use meditation as a route to forgiveness.

4. Mindfulness In Itself Is Linked With Stress Relief

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Programs that teach participants to increase their levels of mindfulness have long been found to be effective for stress relief. This study shows that it is actually the increase in mindfulness--and not merely other factors associated with the class--that bring stress relief. Read more about these findings, and the various routes to mindfulness.

5. Shorter Mindfulness Meditation Programs Are Still Effective

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While we need more research to make solid conclusions, a pilot study found that a 6-week mindfulness meditation program conducted at a workplace setting could be effective in reducing stress and improving sleep among even quite sedentary participants. This is particularly promising because many of the studies on meditation benefits follow an 8-week, relatively time-intensive program; knowing that benefits (fewer, but still significant benefits) can still be found from a shorter, more convenient program is great news. Learn more about the benefits of this type of meditation program, and see what you can do to practice meditation for stress relief, even if you have only 20 minutes per day.

6. More Doctors Are Prescribing Meditation In Recent Years

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Perhaps because research is supporting the benefits of "complementary medicine" techniques like yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises, doctors are increasingly prescribing these techniques. A recent study found that, in 2007, one in thirty people who participated in such techniques were doing so on the advice of a doctor, and of these recommendations, roughly 50% were recommendations for meditation. Learn more about the other techniques that are commonly recommended, and find out how to practice these, as well as meditation.

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