You have to take care of your body, right? You need to fuel it with good foods, keep it strong with training, and stay healthy with mobility and maintenance exercises. The same thing goes for your brain! You need to fuel your brain with high quality information; by filtering out the junk you’re bombarded with every day. You need to keep it strong with training, by learning new and challenging skills and concepts. And finally, you need to keep your brain healthy, with meditation.

Meditation is just like the maintenance exercises you can perform with your body like stretching; just a few minutes a day can make an incredible difference over time. With consistent practice, daily meditation will unlock amazing benefits to fight disease, increase intelligence, minimize stress, improve relationships, maximize emotional IQ, and spark powerful insights about yourself and the world around you.

There is nothing magical about meditation; it’s just learning to control and tame your own brain. You see, most of the time, we run on autopilot. Thousands of thoughts fly through our head every single day, with no rhyme, reason, or care. It’s absolutely exhausting, and we let it continue our entire life. Once we’ve learned to think, we can’t stop!

When you meditate, you discover something incredible: a quiet mind. And once you can calm your thoughts down, you can begin focusing them towards helpful, not harmful, thought patterns. Imagine being able to tame your thoughts, impulses, and emotions to a large extent; how helpful would that be?

10 Scientifically Backed Reasons to Start Meditating.

1. Meditation creates real, physical changes in your brain, like increasing gray matter. Gray matter is a primary component of your central nervous system. Increasing gray matter means improvement to regions of the brain involved in muscle control and sensory perception such as seeing and hearing, memory, emotions, speech, decision making, and self-control.

(Source: Long-Term Meditation: Larger Hippocampal and Frontal Volumes of Gray Matter)

2. Meditation drastically improves your focus and attention. An experiment was conducted that served two types of visual or audio stimuli to individuals in extremely rapid succession. It’s common to miss the second stimuli, due to a lack of processing power in our minds, called the “attentional-blink deficit”. Long-term meditators were able to use less attention on the first stimulus, which made them more able to detect the second.

(Source: Mental Training Affects Distribution of Limited Brain Resources)

3. Meditation boosts your physical immune system. Though testing has been limited, meditators who practiced over an 8-week period created significant increases in antibody titers (concentrations) to influenza vaccine among subjects in the meditation compared with those in the wait‐list control group.

(Source: Alterations in Brain and Immune Function Produced by Mindfulness Meditation)

4. Meditation decreases the feeling of pain. Meditation helps you experience your senses without attaching your own evaluations to those senses. Through a very strictly monitored meditation and MRI analysis experiment, subjects report a 40% decrease in the reported pain they felt while administrators used very uncomfortable heat stimuli.

(Source: Brain Mechanisms Supporting Modulation of Pain by Mindfulness Meditation)

5. Meditation decreases medically-diagnosed depression. A sample pool of individuals with lifetime mood disorders went through an 8-week meditation program. Results indicate that meditation can practice primarily leads to decreases in ruminative thinking, which is the disease of constantly focusing on the negative aspects of life (even after curving results for reductions in affective symptoms and dysfunctional beliefs).

(Source: The Effects of Mindfulness Meditation in Patients with Past Depression)

6. Meditation decreases stress and improves self-compassion. In a smaller study of a similar 8-week meditation program, it was suggested that mindfulness meditation is effective for reducing stress and increasing quality of life. This test was given to a group of health-care professionals, which is a notoriously a high-stress industry.

(Source: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Health Care Professionals)

7. Meditation increases your ability to do multiple tasks well. Multitasking is myth, but many people switch from task to task quickly. Overall task time and errors did not differ significantly among the groups of meditators and non-meditators. However, the meditation group reported lower levels of stress and showed better memory for the tasks they had performed; they also switched tasks less often and remained focused on tasks longer.

(Source: Initial Results for The Effects of Meditation on Multitasking Performance)

8. Meditation boosts your self-control, and how you handle your emotions. After enrollment in a compassion cultivation program, individuals reported increased mindfulness and happiness, as well as decreased worry and emotional suppression. This is compared to a control group, that did not report the same changes. As a bonus, those who meditated more often reported better results.

(Source: Effects of Mindfulness on Emotional Regulation)

9. Meditation improves your ability to find yourself and your passions. Your mind and your body are incredibly connected. This study took body-awareness meditators as well as dancers, which is absolutely a form of meditation. Those two groups experienced a linear increase in coherence, which is the ability to be aware of yourself, as opposed to a group that did not practice either exercises.

(Source: Coherence Between Emotional Experience and Physiology) 

10. Meditation increases your emotional IQ and sociability. A group of working adults was assigned loving-kindness meditation exercises. The amazing results include increases over time in daily experiences of positive emotions, which, in turn, produced increases in a wide range of personal resources (e.g., increased mindfulness, purpose in life, social support, decreased illness symptoms). In turn, these increments in personal resources predicted increased life satisfaction and reduced depressive symptoms.

(Source: Positive Emotions Induced Through Loving Kindness Meditation) 

Grab the reigns.