They looked at 6,000 published peer-reviewed articles about the benefits of meditation. Together they wrote The Science of Meditation: How to Change Your Brain, Mind and Body.
They found that benefits emerge in the beginning hours, days and weeks of meditation. “Other payoffs for novices are an increased ability to focus, less mind-wandering and improved memory,” Goleman says.
The more hours you meditate over a lifetime, the wider the array of benefits you will notice and the stronger these benefits become, Goleman says.
With long-term meditators, there was lower reactivity to stress as well as lessened inflammation.
For those who think they can’t meditate, you may think, ‘Oh, I can’t control my mind,’ but it’s not about controlling your mind. Meditation brings discipline to it.
The authors shared this advice:
- It is important for novice meditators to have a good teacher.
- Go on a retreat where someone can guide you because the data suggests that’s when people make the most measurable progress. “Feedback from a teacher is important because you can get stuck. Even though I’ve meditated for many years, I can still improve.” Goleman says.
- A few minutes a day is better than nothing. “Ten minutes in the morning, ten at lunch and ten at night is a good way to start,” he suggests.
Money worries, family issues or health problems may remain, but meditation helps many people to work towards creating an unworried mind.