I have to be transparent…I’m a horrible meditation patient. I will go on stints of meditating daily (usually 5 min or less) and then fall off the wagon for months on end. Getting to the root of this (because really, IT’S 5 MINUTES!) is something I need to focus on. I hear Nikki, the founder of Kaia FIT and her sister Stephanie, speak frequently to the benefits of meditation. It’s not like I am unaware of how it can change my life. Yet, I still make no progress on adding it into my routine…
Then, I had to write this blog. And without giving away any spoiler, there is 1 (of many) benefits of meditation that struck a cord with me. A scientifically proven fact that has changed my perception and has made meditation a non-negotiable for me. Check out the 5 facts below and see what strikes a cord for you!
Meditation has gradually grown in popularity over the years, especially once it began being backed by science. An 8 week clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School studied how patients relationship with pain changed with the use of meditation. This caused hospitals around the world to integrate similar programs and now meditation has begun to enter the main stream as a form of pain management. 
The practice of meditation, or mindfulness, encourages us to be present, pay more attention, unite the body and mind and go from auto-pilot, to engaged drivers in our own lives.
- Meditation Prevents Memory Loss
- A study done by Neuroscientist Sara Lazar compared daily meditators vs. non-meditators who were demographically matched. The study showed that the mediators showed greater grey matter than the non-meditators. As we age, our prefrontal cortex shrinks, leading to memory loss. This study showed that the meditators had the same cortex at age 50 to those at age 25. The study determined that meditation could slow or even prevent the decline of the prefrontal cortex, keeping you agile in mind as you age (UMM ding ding ding! This is what has changed my habits related to meditation.)
- Meditation Decreases Stress
- Again, neuroscientist Sara Lazar completed a follow-up study to her first, studying non-meditators who meditated 30-40 min/daily over 8 weeks. What they found was that the hippocampus (source of learning and memory) grew over the 8 week period only in meditators (not the controls). It also showed a decreased amygdala, which equals greater stress reduction and ability to process situations more clearly. 
- Reduces Symptoms of Depression, Anxiety and Insomnia
- The practice of bringing the focus to the hear & now allows thoughts to slow and can lead to reduced anxiety, depression, insomnia and pain management
- Meditating helps us stop overattending to our thoughts and feelings and “allows us to get off the wheel, catch our breath, and get some perspective.”
- Helps Us Gain Empathy
- A study at Emory University in 2013 showed that subjects who engaged in a meditation program called Cognitively Based Compassion Training were able to improve their ability to read emotional expressions on other faces. The study also showed that the subjects had increased brain activity in the region linked to empathy.
- The researchers found that people who underwent the meditation training program had a 4.6 percent higher score on the empathy test at the end of the study period. 
- Increased Quality of Life
- Honestly, who doesn’t want that? A life free from reactionary emotions, a greater understanding of the human experience, memory longevity and great sleep?? Meditation is by no means the only way to this experience (please discuss anxiety, depression and stress with your doctor), but it does bring about habits and awareness to better manage the day-to-days of life. At the end of the day, who doesn’t want that?
Join Kaia FIT in meditation on our GetKaiaFIT.com page, and reach out with any questions or comments!