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Why We Should Practise Meditation
Health and beauty
May 2024
Reading time 3 Minutes

In an era where chaos seems omnipresent, the practice of meditation has emerged as an enduring source of tranquility

Living North columnist Dr Maurice Duffy explains how meditation might change your life.

Meditation has been embraced not only by spiritual seekers but also by influential figures like Oprah Winfrey, Novak Djokovic, Christiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and rising football star Erling Haaland, who says ‘I train a lot, and I meditate a lot’. 

Beyond the glitter of fame, meditation has solidified itself as a cornerstone of wellbeing, reinforced by compelling statistics, scientific findings, and the profound impact it has on our health. However, the resonance of meditation extends even further as an invaluable tool in addressing the growing mental health challenges faced by our youth.

Meditation is not a fleeting trend but a lifestyle adopted by millions globally. Surprisingly, 16 percent of individuals between the ages of 45 and 64 actively engage in meditation and mindfulness practices. Additionally, students are eagerly embracing meditation, with 89 percent reporting enhanced emotional regulation, 83 percent claiming improved focus, and 79 percent expressing increased commitment during their classes. These statistics underscore the universal recognition of meditation's positive impact across diverse demographics.

Erling Haaland © Manchester City
Oprah and Professor Arthur C. Brooks © Oprah Winfrey
Why Meditation Is Important

Stress Reduction: In the frenetic pace of modern life, stress and anxiety become unwelcome companions. Meditation acts as a sanctuary, allowing individuals to inhale peace and exhale chaos. It becomes a space to believe in one's capabilities, releasing uncertainties hindering personal growth. Scientifically, the American Psychological Association reports significant reductions in stress levels through mindfulness meditation, with cortisol, the stress hormone, decreasing in regular practitioners.

Improved Concentration and Focus: Amidst a world teeming with distractions, meditation serves as a powerful tool to sharpen focus and amplify success. By fostering concentration, meditation becomes the fuel propelling individuals toward achieving their goals. A meta-analysis in the Journal of Cognitive Enhancement found that mindfulness meditation leads to improvements in cognitive functions, including attention, memory, and executive function.

Enhanced Emotional Wellbeing: Meditation acts as the gateway where calm begins and moods brighten, fostering deeper connections in relationships. Scientific studies indicate that regular meditation is associated with changes in brain regions related to emotional regulation, revealing an increase in grey matter in areas linked to self-awareness and emotional processing.

Better Sleep: A tranquil mind is the key to restful nights, and studies affirm that meditation enhances both the quality and duration of sleep. The National Sleep Foundation highlights the link between mindfulness meditation and improved sleep quality, with individuals reporting enhanced sleep duration and fewer disturbances.

Mind-Body Connection: Meditation becomes the anchor connecting the mind and body, transforming each moment into a precious gift shared in relationships. This fosters a holistic approach to well-being, recognising the interconnectedness of mental and physical health.

Strengthened Resilience: Regular meditation practice has been scientifically linked to increased resilience, lower blood pressure, and enhanced creativity. It equips individuals with the tools to gracefully navigate life's challenges, becoming a source of inner strength and poise. Research in the Journal of Behavioural Medicine suggests that regular meditation practice is associated with increased resilience to stress. Additionally, a study in Frontiers in Psychology indicates that mindfulness meditation enhances creative thinking and problem-solving skills.

Blood Pressure Regulation and Cardiovascular Health: The American Heart Association acknowledges that meditation contributes significantly to lower blood pressure, ultimately reducing the risk of heart disease. Meditation induces a state of deep relaxation, promoting a calming effect on the nervous system. This, in turn, leads to the dilation of blood vessels and a reduction in the production of stress hormones, contributing to a healthier cardiovascular system. Lower blood pressure is not only a testament to the calming influence of meditation but also a vital factor in preventing heart-related ailments.

Mindfulness in Education and Youth Mental Wellbeing: The Journal of Applied School Psychology reports positive effects on students' emotional wellbeing and academic performance through mindfulness practices, including meditation. In an era where more young people grapple with mental health challenges, introducing meditation in educational curricula emerges as a proactive step. By instilling mindfulness practices early on, schools contribute to the development of emotional resilience and coping mechanisms among students. This approach not only enhances their overall wellbeing but also aids in creating a conducive learning environment.

How to Practice Meditation

Embarking on a meditation journey involves finding a quiet space, free from distractions. Sit comfortably, focusing on your breath, allowing thoughts to come and go without judgment. You can choose a specific meditation technique that resonates with you, such as mindfulness, transcendental meditation, or loving-kindness meditation. Consistency is key – start with short sessions and gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable. Many find guided meditations or meditation apps helpful, providing structured sessions to follow. Remember, meditation is a personal journey, and there's no one-size-fits-all approach – find what works best for you. Just don’t give up at the first hurdle.

The journey into the world of meditation transcends stereotypes and is embraced by those seeking balance amid the chaos of modern life. Supported by compelling statistics and scientific findings, meditation has evolved from a mystical practice to a mainstream phenomenon embraced by people from all walks of life. Whether seeking stress reduction, improved focus, enhanced emotional wellbeing, better sleep, or increased self-awareness, meditation stands as a timeless beacon of tranquillity, health, and mental well-being in our fast-paced world.

As we consider its tangible effects, let us remember that science affirms its transformative power – a quiet revolution changing lives one mindful breath at a time.

Dr Maurice Duffy is Visiting Professor at Sunderland, consulting coach to the NHS, the Australian cricket team, Durham Cricket Club, international golfers, rugby and many sports people, and also coaches many senior FTSE 100 business leaders and politicians around the world. Find out more at or follow him on X @drmauriceduffy.

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