Hey, there! Dr. Alan Christianson here. I want to talk about a very powerful practice: basic meditation. People often ask me about whether this is something I have done, studied or find useful. The evidence on meditation improving health and psychology is overwhelming. I have looked at many studies, and every single study suggests there are very clear, tangible benefits. We see medical improvements. Digestive function improves. Cardiovascular health improves. Immune function improves. We see a big variety of psychological benefits, such as reductions in anxiety, obsessive symptoms and depressive symptoms. We see heightened mental clarity and a lot of functional improvements. Also, we see things you might not guess, like improved athletic performance, gross and fine motor abilities, creativity, happiness and engagement. All of these get so much better with meditation.
When it comes to meditation, many think about wearing a robe or engaging in religious practices that are not a fit for you, but at this point, the data is strong that you do not need to join a group or change your beliefs in any way. It just takes some simple habits. It turns out our mind and our whole nervous system has this natural, deep, relaxation response (as one person called it). It is built into us. So, there are techniques to help us activate that response and get to it more readily.