The first time you try meditating, there’s a good chance it’ll drive you crazy. You’re probably so accustomed to being surrounded by noise and constantly moving that even the enviable sound of silence can seem like a mental asylum.
But research confirms that when you’re able to, finding peace and quiet makes you happy. A study in 2013 found that meditating can boost your wellness and improve areas in your brain that help you cope during difficult times.
The research confirms what Meditation teacher and expert Janoah van Kekem believes: “Meditation strengthens our parasympathetic nervous system, which in turn decreases our stress response. The stress response is responsible for our fight or flight response.”
According to Van Kekem, “the fight or flight response” was evolved from when we were cavemen, however is used up to 90 per cent too much in modern day society. We just don’t need to run away from sabre tooth tigers anymore.
Thanks to this evolution, our bodies produce too much of the stress hormone cortisol when we’re under pressure, and mediation helps in shrink the parts of the brain responsible for it’s production (the “amygdala”).
Previous studies echo Van Kekem’s words: scientists found the same measuring the cortisol levels of medical students, before and after mediation.
Van Kekem also says that mediation trains the body to seek happiness internally, rather than from external sources. After only 30 seconds of mediation the body produces “bliss chemicals” (dopamine and serotonin), and by cultivating these internally through meditation, the body no longer needs to look for it from external sources such as double taps on Instagram.
If you’re struggling to find more reasons to start meditating today, just ask Hugh Jackman. The actor credits the practice to the success of his 22-year marriage.