Everyone has heard how meditation helps a person to lower their stress levels. This is, to many people, no surprise. Of course, a few quiet moments alone can help a person calm down. Meditation, however, does more than simply help a person temporarily relax. Meditation has been shown
to actually decrease the amount of the stress hormone, cortisol, a person produces. In a study exploring how meditation affected anxiety, participants who meditated had lower anxiety levels three years after the study was complete. Similarly, meditation has been shown to decrease the amount of inflammatory chemicals, called cytokines, which can negatively affect a person’s mood and even lead to depression.
In addition to lowering a person’s stress levels and anxiety, meditation has been shown to increase a person’s happiness. The brains of people who meditate have been shown to have increased activity in the areas of the brain related to positive thinking and optimism.