Experiments from 2007 demonstrated that those who meditate are better at paying attention. Those studies inspired the likes of Google, Target, Intel, General Mills and many more to sponsor meditation related education for many thousands of their employees. Some of these companies even have meditation rooms on site for their employees to use during the work day. Results tabulated at Intel for those who meditate, show on a scale of 1 to 10,
- A two-point decrease in stress
- a three-point increase in overall happiness and well-being
- a two-point increase in new ideas, mental clarity, creativity, ability to focus, quality of relationships at work, and level of engagement in meetings, projects, and team efforts
Plus, NBC News reported that a school in San Francisco began a daily 30-minute meditation break in 2015, which resulted in suspensions decrease by 75 percent, as well as an improvement in academic performance overall.
And now, just published in 2018, a 7 year study on effects of meditation following sixty 22-69 year old meditators.“"This study is the first to offer evidence that intensive and continued meditation practice is associated with enduring improvements in sustained attention," according to lead author Anthony Zanesco, a psychologist at the University of Miami.
The study began with an initial retreat. From testing following the retreat, they concluded the training enhanced the participants' emotional well-being, ability to deal with stress, and they performed better on tasks related to focus and sustaining attention. This alone is significant for people dealing with depression.
Seven years later, forty of the sixty reported that they continued to practice meditation. Evaluations showed that their mental improvements held up for the most part. In fact, the more the older participants meditated, the better they maintained the benefits already mentioned. This is in stark contrast with people taking medication for depression who see efficacy loss and require stronger doses of their medication with additional medications being added to attempt to maintain relief.
According to the study, those who meditated at least one hour per day showed no cognitive decline.
The message seems pretty clear. Rather than spending time worrying about cognitive decline, finding and committing to a regular practice 20 minutes 3 times per day would be a more productive use of one’s time.