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10/27/2016 09:21 am ET

9 Surprising Benefits Of Meditation

The science-backed benefits of meditation, from your brain to your bowels and beyond.
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Illustration Patrik Svensson

1. Reunites You with Your Car Keys
Memory-training exercises? Sure -- or you could meditate/visualize/yoga your way to improved cognition, according to a small study of older adults.

2. Turns Your Frown Upside Down
Meditation curbs activity in the brain’s amygdala, which helps govern anxiety, stress, and anger. Translation? You’re less likely to wig the hell out.

3. Provides TLC for Your IBS
In one study, eight weeks of mindfulness-based stress reduction tempered tummy turbulence by a whopping 26.4 percent.

4. Slashes Your Dessert Budget
Mindfulness stokes self-control and—by helping you distance yourself from cravings -- robs Boston cream pie of its dastardly allure.

5. Transports You to Margaritaville
Meditation turns on the body’s parasympathetic nervous system, the flip side of fight-or-flight. Heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension decrease—and umbrella-drink mode kicks in.

6. Sweetens Your Slumber
After a six-week meditation workshop, insomniacs felt better rested and less depressed-- probably because they were better rested and less depressed.

7. Douses the Flames Shooting out of Your Head
Multiple studies have shown that mindfulness, yoga, and deep breathing have a chilling effect on hot flashes.

8. Soothes Your Achy-Breaky Back
Eight weeks of mindfulness training for nearly five months of relief? Sign us up!

9. Makes You Nicer
When Buddhist monks practiced compassion meditation while having their brains scanned—we’ve all done that, right?—they showed increased neural activity related to empathy.

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BEFORE YOU GO

PHOTO GALLERY
19 Reasons To Love Meditation
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