The effects of meditation aren't all in your head; they influence your body and spirit, too. That's according to a Huffington Post piece and infographic summarizing results from a range of studies showing how the practice of the mind can have far-reaching effects in a person. Being in the moment offers not only the potential to reduce sensitivity to pain, ease stress and increase focus, the piece notes, but also to lower blood pressure, boost the immune system and invite restorative sleep.
As discussed here previously, meditation may play a role in shaping other aspects of life. Laura Schocker writes:
Cultivates willpower. Stanford health psychologist Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D. told Stanford Medicine's SCOPE blog in 2011 that both physical exercise and meditation can help train the brain for willpower:
Meditation training improves a wide range of willpower skills, including attention, focus, stress management, impulse control and self-awareness. It changes both the function and structure of the brain to support self-control. For example, regular meditators have more gray matter in the prefrontal cortex. And it doesn’t take a lifetime of practice -- brain changes have been observed after eight weeks of brief daily meditation training.
Now, go find a blank wall. See you in 20 minutes.
Previously: Using meditation to train the brain, How meditation can influence gene activity, Ask Stanford Med: Answers to your questions about willpower and tools to reach our goals and The science of willpower
Photo of Allyson Pfeifer by Ashley Turner