How Can Meditation Improve Your Lifestyle?
Meditation is a practice which people have enjoyed for centuries, thanks to the many benefits it can offer you. A new study suggests that, alongside the health benefits it offers you such as reduced stress, it can also help people to become more compassionate. This type of research which focuses on the positive thinking of individuals has been the prime area of investigation for the Centre for Investigating Healthy Minds. The research, carried out by Helen Weng, looks at how meditation impacts the positive qualities in people, such as kindness, forgiveness and compassion. She states how her research was inspired by looking at how monks practice meditation and the different brain patterns of activity they have compared to people who don’t meditate.
Compassion meditation, an activity in itself, was practiced for thirty minutes every day for two weeks – this was in a variety of ways, from a guided CD or online. In order to measure the emotional changes, the participants underwent a brain scan before and after the two-week period. The practice helps people to increase their feelings of caring for people – initially you practice with someone you really love and care about, so that you can gauge how your mind reacts to these feelings. You then imagine a time when you were in pain or were suffering about something, so that you can practice feeling compassion for yourself. Over time, you learn to be less hard on yourself.
This study showed that people did result in being more compassionate when tested, showing that meditation can have a huge impact on your lifestyle and attitude. This practice is also great for calming your mind and alleviating stress. Often, people use meditation alongside yoga as a way of combining exercise with the calming effects it has on the mind – the deep breathing exercises can be performed at any time though, which make ideal exercises to rely on if you’re in a stressful situation.