We’ve all heard that meditation reduces stress. And who doesn’t know about meditation’s ability to clear the mind? But a new study out of the University of Oregon has found that as little as 20 minutes of meditation over 5 days shows greater improvement in attention and overall mood, as well as lower levels of anxiety, depression, anger and fatigue.
The study looked at 40 Chinese students, half getting instructed in integrative meditation, while the other half taken through relaxation training only. The meditation group showed greater increases when tested for attention, and they also showed improvements in mood, and lower reactions to mental stressors as measured by “stress-related cortisol levels”. According to the authors of the study, integrative meditation incorporates “several key components body and mind techniques including body relaxation, breathing adjustment, mental imagery, and mindfulness training.
Definitely thumbs up to this one, mostly because I’m pleased to see our nation’s universities giving this vital health practice some time and research money. And hats off to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences which published the study–it’s high time we look deeper into the incredible power of the mind and investigate what other cultures have simply taken for granted. I speak at length about meditation in my upcoming book, The Six Keys To Optimal Health. I am convinced that everybody should be doing it. And as I tell my patients: even ten minutes a day will have profound effects on your life.
That reminds me…have you heard the one about the Buddhist who went into a Burger King? He said, “Make me one with everything.”
Here are some meditation resources if you’re interested:
The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh (a personal favorite)
Meditations for Manifesting by Dyer, Wayne W.(August 1, 1995) Audio CD by Wayne Dyer (good CD for beginners)
Creative Visualization: Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create What You Want in Your Life by Shakti Gawain (the first book of this kind I’d ever read)
Seeking The Self Through Meditation (E-book) by Moi (good book for beginners)