Does meditation reduce stress?

What is the evidence that meditation can reduce stress levels?

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

There is a significant amount of research that suggests meditation can be effective in reducing stress. One study published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine found that an 8-week mindfulness meditation program led to a significant reduction in stress, anxiety, and depression in a group of medical students.

Another study published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress found that veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who participated in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program experienced a decrease in symptoms of PTSD and an improvement in overall well-being.

A meta-analysis published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that mindfulness meditation programs had moderate evidence of improving anxiety and depression.

Additionally, numerous neuroimaging studies have shown that meditation can lead to brain changes associated with reduced stress. For example, one study found that regular meditation was associated with decreased activity in the amygdala, a brain region that is involved in the processing of stress and fear.

Research also suggests that meditation can help to reduce the production of cortisol, a stress hormone. One study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine found that a mindfulness-based stress reduction program led to a significant decrease in cortisol levels in a group of stressed individuals.

Moreover, meditation has been found to increase activity in the prefrontal cortex, a brain region that is involved in the decision-making and regulation of emotions. This increased activity in the prefrontal cortex is thought to be related to the ability of meditation to help individuals respond to stress in a more adaptive way.

Meditation has been found to be an effective tool in reducing stress in many populations, such as healthcare workers, students, veterans, and people with chronic illnesses, among others. Additionally, it is effective in reducing stress symptoms in different mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

In conclusion, the evidence suggests that meditation can be an effective tool for reducing stress. It has been found to decrease stress hormone levels, improve mood, and decrease activity in brain regions that are associated with stress. Furthermore, it has been found to improve well-being and mental health conditions like anxiety and depression.

Generated by AI, edited by a human


Memory improvements possible from meditation in middle and old age

There are strong indications that meditation and mindfulness practice may have a positive impact on dementia and cognitive decline.

man hands waiting senior
Meditation appears able to help improve memory even in people suffering from cognitive decline?

Authors: Russell-Williams, J., Jaroudi, W., Perich, T., Hoscheidt, S., El Haj, M., & Moustafa, A. A.

Year: 2018

Title: Mindfulness and meditation: treating cognitive impairment and reducing stress in dementia

Summary: Mental health concerns linked to an ageing population include, Alzheimer’s disease (AD), dementia, mild cognitive impairment and subjective cognitive decline. We should say at the outset that when people are diagnosed with early-stage dementia, increased stress levels leading to poorer health more generally may follow close behind. This notion was reflected in the aims of this review.

There is evidence that meditation technologies can boost brain function and structure, but there is a lack of research investigating the benefits to populations already suffering from declining cognitive performance. This narrative review examined ten studies that explored the benefits of meditation on dementia-related memory conditions. The study looked across a range of scientific papers to identify trends and patterns. This should not be confused with experimental replication (the repetition of experiments to confirm scientific reliability).

The reviewed studies were seeking to understand if meditation could influence the cognitive performance, quality of life and perceived stress of people already experiencing different degrees of memory-related cognitive decline. The good news is that all of the studies demonstrated significant or ‘moving towards significant’ results. Collectively, these findings indicated that meditation could lead to

  • a reduction in cognitive decline
  • an increase in functional connectivity in the brain
  • a reduction in perceived stress
  • an increase in quality of life

The bottom line is that meditation appears able to improve brain function in people already suffering cognitive decline. Observed changes are likely to be linked to structural alterations in the brain. These positive developments can, in turn, lead to reduced levels of stress and improved quality of life.

“These preliminary findings offer causes for optimism in the treatment of cognitive decline. However caution must be expressed until results have been reliably replicated.”

Stephen Gene Morris


%d bloggers like this: