14 Benefits of Meditation Backed by Science

Meditating regularly reduces stress, boosts your immune system and helps you sleep. Researchers have also presented evidence that it can slow down the aging process. Guided by experts and scientific studies, in this article we’ll look closely at all the advantages you can enjoy from frequent practice.

Benefit 1: Reduces Stress and Anxiety

1: Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Dr. Elizabeth Hoge, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, explains that mindfulness meditation is ideal for treating anxiety:

If you have unproductive worries, you can train yourself to experience those thoughts completely differently. Mindfulness teaches you to recognize, ‘Oh, there’s that thought again. I’ve been here before. But it’s just that—a thought, and not a part of my core self.[1]

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University highlighted 47 different projects that looked at the impact of meditation on anxiety.[2]

It was found that overwhelmingly it did have the power to ease symptoms of the condition.

A further systematic review showed how it could relieve stress, concluding that those who meditate regularly can manage stressful situations more effectively.[3]

When you consider its power, it’s no surprise that the number of people practicing is growing, according to recent meditation statistics.

Benefit 2: Makes You Feel Happier!

2: Makes You Feel Happier!

365 test subjects took part in a project in Spain, aiming to prove the link between happiness and mediation by rating responses on the Pemberton Happiness Index (PHI).[4]

They saw that individuals become more observant and aware of their own emotions, as well as showing more compassion for others.

Larger scale research focused on mindfulness based practices, including meditation, concluded that it had a positive effect on a number of mental health conditions, mostly notably on depression.[5]

The Dalai Lama explains in his book The Art of Happiness that we can all reclaim our innate state of happiness by simply taking the time to observe and:

increasing our awareness and understanding of what truly leads to happiness and what doesn’t.[6]

Benefit 3: Improves Your Memory

3: Improves Your Memory

The way meditation has actually been shown to alter your brain to improve your memory – has to be one of most fascinating facts about meditation.

This change is known as neuroplasticity, which essentially refers to the way your brain can change structurally and functionally over your lifetime.

One of the best examples of this is Tibetan Buddhist monks who dedicate their lives to meditation, and reap the spiritual benefits.[7]

Longitudinal studies have shown how it changed their brains over time.

However don’t worry, you don’t need to show quite the same dedication!

A team in Korea took 46 experienced meditators who had been practicing for around two to five years and 46 beginners with no experience.[8]

Despite only practicing for up to five years, the brains of the experienced meditators did show distinct differences compared to the beginners, particularly in the areas responsible for memory and concentration.

Benefit 4: Helps You Sleep

4: Helps You Sleep

Long-needed research in 2015 studied the sleep issues of older adults.[9]

It found that meditation intervention had helped to improve sleep problems in the short term and enhance their overall quality of life.

In fact, influential meditator Emily Fletcher, explains that meditation can offer rest 2-5x deeper than sleep![10]

There are also gadgets, that make great meditation gifts, that are designed to put you in a deeper meditative state in preparation for going to sleep.

Benefit 5: Enhances Your Concentration and Focus

5: Enhances Your Concentration and Focus

Those looking at ways to improve the world’s ever-shortening attention span made an unexpected discovery in 2018.

They found that long term meditation could significantly improve a person’s concentration.[11]

However even following just a ten minute session, improvements were seen in the focus of those who had never practiced before.

Benefit 6: Strengthens the Immune System

6: Strengthens the Immune System

Initial observations on the link between immunity and meditation suggest that the practice helps to calm the body’s stress response, therefore reducing chronic inflammation.[12]

Ohio State proved this finding with research subjects showing a sharp rise in the production of antibodies and therefore a strengthened immune system.[13]

Benefit 7: Reduces Chronic Pain

7: Reduces Chronic Pain

[14]The chronic back pain of 342 individuals was assessed to see whether mediation could help those suffering, carry out everyday tasks more easily.

Participants following the eight-week course reported a 30% improvement.

Further investigations on chronic pain conducted in Santa Monica, reported not only an overall improvement in quality of life but also the easing of symptoms of depression.[15]

Benefit 8: Encourages Kindness and Compassion

8: Encourages Kindness and Compassion

Clever neuroimaging studies have highlighted how mindfulness practices activate the part of your brain that controls empathy. This is thought to improve your social interaction.[16]

Teachers were the focus of a 2012 project that aimed to assess how mindfulness training could boost their professional development.[17]

It showed that mindfulness training could help teachers handle the emotional aspect of their job, including practicing forgiveness, more effectively.

There are a number of forgiveness focused meditations that you can follow, such as this one by Jason Stephenson:

YouTube video

Benefit 9: Can Reduce Anger

9: Can Reduce Anger

Experts at the University of Kansas have proven how the anger of experienced and novice meditators can be controlled with meditation.[18]

Subjects were placed in anger-inducing scenarios, however after one session they reacted less angrily than they had done before.

Their breathing was slower and blood pressure decreased.

Interestingly, though the study involved both beginner and seasoned meditators the results were no different, just one session had the same positive impact.

Benefit 10: Fosters Creativity

10: Fosters Creativity

Research in 2011 looked at female sexual dysfunction as a mental issue rather than a physical one.[19]

They used mindfulness-based treatment options to address the feelings of self-judgement the women were experiencing.

After 12 weeks, subjects reported better sexual functioning as well as an improved self-view.

Meditation also formed part of a wider investigation looking at how yogic practices compared to a leading drug for the treatment of premature ejaculation.[20]

It was shown to have a significant influence on the men in the group, with all reporting improved performance.

There are a number of guidances you can follow to help:

YouTube video

Benefit 11: Fosters Creativity

11: Fosters Creativity

If you’re looking to reignite your creativity then you might want to try meditation.

Even if you’ve never practiced before, a 2014 project revealed that doing so has a lasting impact on human cognition.[21]

Essentially helping your brain to develop new ideas!

Be inspired online, by the many meditation influencers you can follow who demonstrate the different ways you can make the practice part of your life.

Benefit 12: Encourages Weight Loss

12: Encourages Weight Loss

Researchers from Pittsburg hoping to find solutions for the obesity epidemic, considered the power of meditation.[22]

They noticed a significant reduction in the weight of the test subjects.

It was felt this reduction came from a more mindful approach to eating as well as more discipline in food choices.

Conclusions drawn suggested it was a great, affordable weight loss aid.

Benefit 13: Slows Down the Aging Process

13: Slows Down the Aging Process

Scientists have found a link between those who practice meditation and a slowing in cellular aging.[23]

Though of course it forms part of a collective of positive lifestyle choices, it was found that the practice reduced the stress makers that can lead to a shortened life.

Benefit 14: Helps to Reduce Blood Pressure

14: Helps to Reduce Blood Pressure

A study to help those suffering from arterial hypertension found that after eight weeks of meditation the blood pressure of the subjects was lowered to a statistically significant level.[24]

Interestingly the participants were also found to be less depressed than they had been prior.

Fancy learning more about another mind and body practice?

Improved posture, better lung function, a stronger immune system, just a few of the benefits of yoga!

Laura Smith


Laura Smith

Associate Editorial Manager

Specialist health & wellbeing writer, passionate about discovering new technologies & sharing the latest research.


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