Emma Watson meditates. Katy Perry and LeBron James meditate. Jon Krop meditates. (Okay, that last one is me, but still.) Trendy meditation studios are opening in major US cities, and meditation apps like Headspace have racked up millions of downloads.
Still, every time I read that meditation is “the hot new thing,” I have to laugh. It’s over 2,500 years old! Meditation—and a related concept called mindfulness—is gaining popularity today for the same reason it was popular in ancient India: It’s really good for you. As a growing body of scientific evidence confirms, practicing meditation and mindfulness can reduce stress, pain, anxiety, and depression; improve focus; and make us happier, healthier, and even more creative.
Best of all, meditation is a simple practice that anyone can do.
Addley, E. (2015, May 29). Planet’s happiest human—and his app. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/29/planets-happiest-human-and-his-app
Colzato L. S., Ozturk A., & Hommel B. (2012). Meditate to create: The impact of focused-attention and open-monitoring training on convergent and divergent thinking. Frontiers in Psychology, 3, 116.
Chen, K. W., Berger, C. C., Manheimer, E., Forde, D., et al. (2012). Meditative therapies for reducing anxiety: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Depression and Anxiety, 29(7), 545–562.
Friese, M., Messner, C., & Schaffner, Y. (2012). Mindfulness meditation counteracts self-control depletion. Consciousness and Cognition, 21(2), 1016–1022.
Goyal, M., Singh, S., Sibinga, E. M., Gould, N. F., et al. (2014). Meditation programs for psychological stress and well-being: A systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Internal Medicine, 174(3), 357–368.
Greenberg, J., Reiner, K., & Meiran, N. (2012). “Mind the trap”: Mindfulness practice reduces cognitive rigidity. PLoS ONE, 7(5), e36206. Retrieved from http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0036206
Hofmann, S. G., Sawyer, A. T., Witt, A. A., & Oh, D. (2010). The effect of mindfulness-based therapy on anxiety and depression: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 78(2), 169.
Hughes, J. W., Fresco, D. M., Myerscough, R., van Dulmen, M., et al. (2013). Randomized controlled trial of mindfulness-based stress reduction for prehypertension. Psychosomatic Medicine, 75(8). Retrieved from http://doi.org/10.1097/PSY.0b013e3182a3e4e5
Klimecki, O. M., Leiberg, S., Lamm, C., & Singer, T. (2012). Functional neural plasticity and associated changes in positive affect after compassion training. Cerebral Cortex, bhs142.
Stahl, J. E., Dossett, M. L., LaJoie, A. S., Denninger, J. W., et al. (2015). Relaxation response and resiliency training and its effect on healthcare resource utilization. PLoS ONE, 10(10), e0140212. Retrieved from http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0140212
Zeidan, F., Johnson, S. K., Diamond, B. J., David, Z., et al. (2010). Mindfulness meditation improves cognition: Evidence of brief mental training. Consciousness and Cognition, 19(2), 597–605.