Transcendental Meditation

TIME: “Is meditation really worth it? Totally!”

TIME magazine meditation practice worth it

Illustration: Peter Oumanski for TIME

In October, TIME magazine’s regular column ‘You Asked’ was dedicated to this interesting little question: Is meditation really worth it? Settling the issue once and for all, columnist Markham Heid began his reply with three simple words: “Totally. Here’s why.”

Train your brain to relax!

After clarifying that there are many different kinds of techniques, the article goes on to explain the basic, common mechanism involved in meditation.

“The greatest benefits may spring from the interplay between your brain’s focus centers and its limbic system—a set of structures that manage your emotions and regulate the release of stress and relaxation hormones.

time magazine why mediate does meditation work

Dr. Andrew Newberg.
Photo: Nour Foundation

“Studies suggests your body’s arousal system is calmed and the flow of stress-related hormones is reduced [by meditation],” says Dr. Andrew Newberg, a neuroscientist at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and author of Words Can Change Your Brain.

“There’s also a softening effect when it comes to emotional responses,” Dr. Newberg explains. Just as weightlifting allows your muscles to lift a heavier load, working out your brain with meditation seems to fortify its ability to carry life’s emotional cargo. That stress-dampening effect has tied meditation to improved mood and lower rates of heart disease, insomnia and depression.

“Basically, meditation helps your brain get out of its own way,” adds Dr. Judson Brewer, a Yale School of Medicine psychiatrist.“

“Is Meditation Really Worth It?” by Markham Heid