10 Reasons Why Meditation Is America's New Push-Up for the Brain

Cheers to America's new push-up for the brain! With all the scientific evidence coming in over the years, meditation is now becoming a practice that anyone from any walk of life can embrace.
05/03/2013 08:20am ET | Updated July 3, 2013
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Woman meditating in a yoga studio, Vancouver, British Columbia

The push-up is an incredible tool to help you get in great physical shape; that's why it's used in almost every gym in America. With all the scientific evidence pointing to mindfulness meditation, the practice is literally becoming America's next push-up for the brain.

Here are 10 reasons why you should do the practice.

1. It may make you happier.

The practice helps you to cultivate more positive states of mind; if you're happy you will do better in every area of your life. Emotions are contagious, and when you're happy you spread that feeling to everyone around you.

2. There's evidence that it strengthens the brain.

A study done at UCLA suggest that meditation actually strengthens the brain in a good way. Studies like this are pointing to the fact that meditation is literally a workout for the brain. How about right before you do your sit-ups, you incorporate some meditation to strengthen the brain?

3. It may help you focus at work.

Our hectic, technology-filled lifestyle is talking all of our attention; we're constantly checking emails, Facebook updates, and our Twitter accounts. A new study suggested that meditation may make you more focused at work.

4. It could make you a more compassionate person.

Meditation helps you to calm down by centering your focus on your breathing and the sensations in your body. It also helps you recognize positive emotions within your own body, and to use those emotions to act more compassionate toward others. A new study from Northeastern University and Harvard University researchers showed that people who meditated acted more compassionate afterward than those who did not meditate.

5. It may help you lose weight.

Mindfulness is a way to pay attention to the all the sensations you're experiencing. When you do meditation while you're eating, you become more conscious of what you're putting in your mouth.

6. It may relieve stress.

A study in the journal Health Psychology showed that mindfulness decreased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This is something everyone in American could use, considering stress has literally become an epidemic here.

7. It may help you do better in school.

A new study done in the journal Mindfulness showed that meditation improved the test scores of students in a psychology class. Some of the students meditated before the lecture, and another group did not. After the lecture, the ones who meditated did better. Want your kids to do better in class -- why not show them how to meditate?

8. It may help American troops.

A number of programs are working with troops to give them the tools of meditation to better their quality of life. Organizations like Project Welcome Home Troops, the Mind Fitness Training Institute, and the the Samueli Institute are using it with troops.

9. It positively changes the brain, even when you're not meditating.

A new study has indicated that by participating in an eight-week meditation program, you can potentially change how the brain works even when you're not meditating. The brain is just like a muscle you work out at the gym: If you do meditation every day, it's going to positively influence your life.

10. It may help protect against colds.

A study done at the University of Wisconsin-Madison showed that people who practiced mindfulness meditation or engage in physical exercise suffered less from colds than those who did not.

Cheers to America's new push-up for the brain! With all the scientific evidence coming in over the years, meditation is now becoming a practice that anyone from any walk of life can embrace. You don't have to practice any religion or have any set of beliefs to use this incredible tool for the brain.

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