It’s natural to do what’s pressing and put off activities that give longer term results. But that may not be what’s best for us. A group of neuroscientists from Harvard recently published a study that shows you don’t have to wait forever for “long-term benefits.” The scientists observed significant changes in the brains of 16 participants who agreed to practice mindfulness meditation every day for only 8 weeks. That’s eight weeks to significant positive benefits. Do you want those kinds of changes too? Here are three signs you too should start meditating today.

 

  1. You’re busier than ever before. When your calendar is full and your day begins before sunrise, the last thing you want to do is add another item to your to-do list. But being busy is not just about the number of tasks you’re doing, it’s also about how you do them. Researchers in the study above noticed that following the eight-week trial there was a meaningful amount of growth in areas of the brain related to stress management and anxiety. While finding time to meditate may seem like an extra burden, the boost to your mental well-being may help you get everything else done faster and better.

 

  1. You’re curious about others. Ever walked away from an interaction with someone and wondered, “What just happened?” Sometimes we can be so quick to judge others that we forget to think about things from their perspective, projecting our own feelings and often insecurities instead. At the completion of their two-month meditation regimen the study participants indicated that they noticed marked improvements in the way they interacted with others, especially diminishing their instincts to quickly judge people they didn’t understand.

 

  1. You want to learn something new. Maybe there’s a new project on your plate at work. Maybe you’re finally signing up for Italian classes to prepare for the Italian tour of your dreams. Whatever has you looking to broaden your intellectual horizons, meditation can help you do so. Growth in the specific areas of the brain documented by this study’s researchers showed that the participants who engaged in meditation saw an increase in their ability to build memories.

 

Meditation is not just for the spiritually inclined; regularly engaging in mindfulness meditation practices will lead to noticeable results in the way you live your everyday life. Whether you’re looking to decrease your stress, learn something new, or are just plain curious about other people, there’s something in meditation to benefit everyone. Meditating together can even be a great way to connect with open-minded family members or friends. The only people who won’t benefit from meditation are those who don’t try it!

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