The Benefits Of Meditation

Research shows that meditation for as little as ten minutes a day can make a dramatic difference to one’s physical and mental health.[i] Benefits from meditation come after just a few weeks of practice.

In The Physical and Psychological Effects of Meditation (1997), Michael Murphy and Steven Donovan consolidated numerous studies from the past few decades of works carried out by researchers on the effects of meditation, they include:[ii]

  • Lower heart rate
  • Change in blood flow (for example, empathy, is related to the flushing of particular body parts, such as the face and chest)
  •  Lower blood pressure
  •  Help with cardiovascular diseases, such as angina and hypercholesterolemia
  • Lessen stress
  • Heightened perceptual awareness
  • Improved reaction time and motor skill (due to increased alertness)
  • Improved concentration and attention (less likely to be distracted)
  • Improved memory
  • Increased empathy (becomes kinder)
  • More developed equanimity & detachment
  • Increase experience of rapture and bliss
  • More vivid and more archetypal dreams, higher dream recall rate
  • Experiences bordering on extrasensory or parapsychological perception
  • Altered body image and ego boundaries
  • Increased energy and excitement after meditation and clearer visual perception and greater awareness of bodily processes.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Massachusetts, conducted a successful eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, using meditation to treat stress in patients suffering from a wide range of conditions. The program enjoyed success to the extent that it was later offered to medical students and hospital staffs.[iii]

In 1982, Kabat-Zinn showed mindfulness meditation was an effective way to control pain (Silva, 1990), because meditators were able to ‘decouple’ the physical sensation from the psychological elaboration. For most people physical pain is usually accompanied by psychological pain in the form of grief, restlessness, and worry. The Buddha said it was like being shot with two arrows. The first arrow is the physical pain, and the psychological pain is like the second arrow. A wise person, however, by remaining equanimous, only suffers the pain of the first arrow – the physical pain, and not psychological pain of grief or worry—the second arrow.

Considering the above benefits, it is no wonder that meditation has been used in psychotherapy to help patients develop self-esteem, enhance relationships, and in treating conditions such as depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and childhood distress.


[i] http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/index.php?term=20010501-000025&page=1

[ii] http://www.noetic.org/research/medbiblio/ch_intro1.htm

[iii] http://www.noetic.org/research/medbiblio/ch_intro2.htm

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Quyen Ngo

Quyen Ngo

Quyen Ngo is a Buddhist studies scholar.​ He has a master’s degree in Buddhist Studies and is an author of a number of books and articles on meditation and Buddhism. He has done numerous meditation retreats around the world.

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Our mission is to make the world a happier and healthier place. We’re committed to helping you live mindfully, become calmer, less stressed, more productive and fulfilled.

Rather than trying to modernise or reinvent, we adhere to the teachings and practices of the enlightened masters that have been helping people for thousands of years. We are making the previously hard-to-access authentic teachings available for everyone to benefit.

Way of Insight founder, Quyen Ngo, has published a book documenting his 43 days meditation retreat in Myanmar. He has created a gradual meditation course aimed at all levels to help you develop your meditation and unleash your silent potential.

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