The practice of meditation goes back thousands of years and has been used by people all over the world to help them relax, focus and relieve anxiety.

Meditation has become more common in western culture over recent years and there are now even apps available that can help you learn the techniques you need.

If you’re unsure or unaware of the benefits of meditation, here are a few ways that meditation can make you happier.

Reduced fear and anxiety

In a series of studies carried out by neuroscientist, Sara Lazar, it was discovered that meditation helps to reduce the effects of fear and anxiety.

It was found that meditating reduced the size of the amygdala in the participants’ brains.

This area of the brain is responsible for anxiety and fear which is why you experience less stress and feel happier if you regularly meditate.

Less stress

Anyone that practices meditation regularly will vouch for the fact that it relieves stress and helps you stay calm during stressful situations.

There was a study carried out by researchers at the U.C. Davis which proved the science behind this phenomenon.

It was discovered that during meditation sessions, the level of cortisol being released in the body was lowered.

Cortisone is a hormone which is often referred to as the stress hormone.

Regular meditation can also help reduce overall cortisone levels.

More left brain activity

During an MBSR programme which was carried out by Richard Davidson at the University of Wisconsin, a group of employees spent eight weeks meditating.

During this time, it was discovered that their brains experienced a higher level of activity around the left prefrontal cortex, otherwise known as the area of the brain that helps keep you calm and happy.

Better focus

The brain is designed to think and it often wanders to thoughts of worry or regret.

This is one of the main reasons people choose to meditate, in order to keep their mind focused and away from unnecessary worry.

A case study from Yale University found that people who meditate regularly have a much stronger ability to increase focus and reduce worry.

Anti-depressant

It was found in a study carried out at John Hopkins University that meditation is very effective at reducing anxiety and the intensity of depression.

It was discovered that the brain reacted in a similar way to when it is exposed to anti-depressant medication.

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