What the Recent Harvard Study Says About Meditation
A new study on meditation was recently published by several Harvard Medical School professors. It has revealed startling results and implications for how corporations can incorporate meditation into their companies.
By following the same techniques that we teach at EastWesticism, these mindfulness exercises and practices for stress reduction were proven to have extraordinary impacts on the brain and on the lives of its practitioners.
What the Harvard Meditation Study Did
Over 8 weeks, participants spent an average of 27 minutes per day dedicated to the three mindfulness practices. Furthermore, these techniques are identical to the ones that EastWesticism teaches at all of their corporate meditation retreats. But to put it quite simply, the results were astonishing, and all the participants had no real prior experience with meditation or mindfulness
What the Harvard Meditation Study Found
1. An Increase in Mindfulness
Compared to the control group, the mindfulness practitioners experienced significant increases in measurements of mindfulness (acting with awareness). Awareness of themselves and their surroundings, and furthermore, being nonjudgemental, both improved.
2. An Increase in Gray Matter
In just 8 weeks, the size of the brain grew in the mindfulness and meditation group. But most strikingly, the left hippocampus increased measurably in size as a direct result of the mindfulness training program. Notably, this part of the brain is responsible for regulating emotion and lowering stress.
Furthermore, numerous studies have shown this particular region of the brain to be larger-than-normal in experienced meditators.
Conversely, a small left hippocampus has been linked to major depression, PTSD, a reduction in the brain’s ability to create new cells, and other stress and emotion-related issues.
3. Affect on Work and Homelife
And finally, scientists observed enduring changes to the structure of the brain caused by this program. Just a little bit of meditation and mindfulness over a very short period of time suggested markedly improved mental functioning. Participants were more present and less robotic when doing activities, at both work and at home.
Learning, memory, and self-awareness were all improved, but so were stress and emotion-management.
What Mindfulness Program Did the Harvard Meditation Study Use?
The mindfulness program that this study used, as well as the program EastWesticism teaches, consist of 2 types of meditation along with some gentle mindful yoga stretching.
This specific 8-week study consisted of weekly meetings that lasted for 2.5 hours each, and a 1-day retreat on the sixth week of the program. However, companies can customize the schedule and timeframe for their mindfulness program based on their unique needs.
All in all, the benefits of meditation programs like this one include greater employee home and work satisfaction, fewer mistakes, greater focus, longer attention spans, less stress, and more energy.
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