The Science and People Behind Meditation Today [videos]

Side view of Asian young adult female with eyes closed.

When someone says they practice meditation people tend to think of the “hippie” stigma that comes along with it. However, today, more people are educating themselves on how to improve their health and overall well-being. It’s a globally recognized trend. With that said, mediation or mindful living is becoming more popular.

Silicon Valley; meditation

Silicon Valley; mediation

Stress is a major factor behind illness and today we have more stress than ever. Robert Maurice Sapolsky is a neuroendocrinologist, professor of biology, neuroscience, and neurosurgery at Stanford University. He’s also very well known for his studies on primates and stress related disease. According to Sapolsky, happiness and self-esteem are important factors in reducing stress. Yet the definition of “happiness” has less to do with material comfort than Westerners might assume, he noted: “An extraordinary finding that’s been replicated over and over is that once you get past the 25 percent or so poorest countries on Earth, where the only question is survival and subsistence, there is no relationship between gross national product, per capita income, any of those things, and levels of happiness.” You can watch the full documentary of his study on stress here.

“There is now a rising worldwide demand that policy be more closely aligned with what really matters to people as they themselves characterize their well-being,” said Professor Jeffery Sachs. “More and more world leaders are talking about the importance of well-being as a guide for their nations and the world. The World Happiness Report 2013 offers rich evidence that the systematic measurement and analysis of happiness can teach us a lot about ways to improve the world’s well-being and sustainable development.”

The practice of meditation is becoming a trend that seems to have really picked up steam in 2013 and is being adopted by celebrities and corporations. Google search has seen a steady increased interest for “mindfulness and meditation“. Some celebrities that have adopted this lifestyle change include Oprah, Seinfeld, Eva Mendes, Steve Jobs, Russell Simmons, Paul McCartney, Halle Berry and many more.

Meditation really helps create not only a sense of balance… but serenity and kind of a calm state of mind.” ~Eva Mendes

Companies such as Google, Apple, and Nike are incorporating mediation into the the workplace. One of Google’s original software engineers is now head of personal growth. His name is Chade-Meng Tan and he has committed to bringing meditation into the workplace. Tan designed a popular course at Google, called “Search Inside Yourself” which helped employees learn how to breathe mindfully, listen to their coworkers, and even improve their emotional intelligence.

Hear Chade-Meng Tan of Google talks about mindfulness

SOME OF THE SCIENCE:

There are now over 1,000 peer reviewed scientific research studies published, more than 350 are specifically for Transcendental Meditation. The various benefits found are staggering. Below, are a few examples of research we thought were interesting.

In addition to medical benefits it plays an important role in detention centers and schools. For example, in 1987 President Abdou Diouf instructed the prison administration to implement Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation program system-wide for all inmates, correctional officers, and prison administrators. More than eleven thousand inmates and nine hundred officers were instructed. Prisons that were violent became peaceful; inmates who were self-centered and impulsive became caring and stable. In one of the prisons the warden stopped the program for five months. During that time there were three murders and five rapes, offenses that once again quickly disappeared with the revival of the program in that prison under a new warden.

There are many types of mindful exercises and forms of meditation. However, Transcendental Meditation seems to be the most studied and beneficial medically. Their website is quite thorough with video discussions, celebrities and peer reviewed studies all available to review.

Russell Simmons talks about the power of mediation

Jerry Seinfeld talks about the importance of mediation

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