According to a study conducted at University of California, Davis, the effects of joining an intensive meditation program can be expected to last for years. This was based on research where 60 participants were asked to join at least one of two three-month meditation retreats held at the Shambhala Mountain Center in 2007. Those who participated were placed in group meditation sessions and were also taught to practice Buddhist mindfulness meditation that lasted six hours per day.
Initial findings showed great progress in each participant. It was observed that each person was able to deal with stress more efficiently and were able to sustain their attention for longer.
During the seven-year follow-up period, 40 original participants who continued to practice meditation were assessed. The research team saw that these participants were able to maintain the improvements they gained during the initial test period and had significantly built on their capabilities to sustain attention and manage stress better.
Anthony Zanesco, lead author of the study from the University of Miami said: “This study is the first to offer evidence that intensive and continued meditation practice is associated with enduring improvements in sustained attention and response inhibition, with the potential to alter longitudinal trajectories of cognitive change across a person’s life.”
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The cognitive benefits meditation appeared to have peaked after a meditation session, as per the study. But more than that, meditation was seen to be a potential solution to help treat some mental illnesses. It has been noted that certain psychiatric medications do more harm than good; with patients often suffering from severe side-effects from long-term use. Moreover, these drugs become less effective as the system becomes immune, forcing patients to require a bigger dosage.
Practicing meditation, on the other hand, is effective in combating cognitive decline and even help in improving one’s cognition. The therapeutic benefits are augmented once a person observes a regular meditation regime. Constant meditation can improve sleeping habits, help clear minds, and improve overall health.
There are many ways to practice meditation. What works for a certain person may not automatically work for you. So it’s important that you find the perfect program or technique that will work for you.
Research scientist Clifford Saron from the Center for Mind and Brain said, “The name of the game is not to achieve a particular state or perfectly implement a specific meditation technique,” he said. “It really is an interaction of a person’s personal taste, what speaks to them… their predilections, personality, and psychological makeup. There’s no one size fits all. The overall emphasis of such practices is the cultivation of the capacity to tune into what’s going on in your body and mind with the aim of inclining one’s highest actions to be in accord with one’s highest values.”
Here are some ways you can practice meditation:
What other benefits can you get from meditation?
You can read more about the benefits of meditation at Mind.news.