Meditation, panacea or fad? In recent years, meditation has been hailed for its benefits in reducing anxiety and ailments, and many companies are starting to incorporate this into their wellness programmes. As a new topic though, there are few, but gradually increasing amount of research, to back this up the claims and the extent of how useful it is in improving productivity in the workplace. Perhaps these three cool facts about meditation could make you more convinced of its benefits.
More effective than blood pressure medication
In a 2008 study, Dr. Randy Zusman, a doctor at the Massachusetts General Hospital, asked patients who had high blood pressure, but was not controlled with meditation, to try a meditation-based relaxation program for three months. At the end of the research period, 64% of the patients were able to see a significant drop in blood pressure levels and were able to reduce their medication. The reason as to why meditation could be effective was because relaxation results in the formation of nitric oxide, which opens up the blood vessels and thereby reduces blood pressure.
Better than sleeping
In a 2006 research, college students were asked to either sleep, meditate or watch television programmes. They were then asked to hit a button each time a light flashed on the screen, to test their alertness. The results showed that those who meditated fared better than those who slept or watched television programmes, by more than 10%.
Ability of the brain to change and adapt
Continued meditation leads to neuroplasticity, which refers to the brain’s ability to change, structurally and functionally, depending on the environmental input. This is significant as it was previously believed that the brain stopped changing after adulthood. However, research by neuroscientist Richard Davidson, of the University of Wisconsin, showed that skilled meditators exhibited high levels of gamma wave activity, and showed that they do not get stuck on a particular stimulus, which continued after the meditation session was attended. This means that they are able to automatically able to control their thoughts and reactiveness.
Meditation practices are not a cure for the body’s ailments, but research has shown that it could possibly fare better than medicine itself. And if you do try to meditate, hopefully you will be able to reap the full benefits of meditation and perform better at work!
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