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I’ve written extensively on the benefits of meditation. It makes you more empathetic. It reduces stress and has a positive impact on depression, blood pressure, fatigue and insomnia, among other health issues. It improves learning and memory. It makes you more creative. One study from the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center found that meditation produced a greater reduction in pain than morphine.

A Harvard study concluded participants who meditated experienced changes in their brain (based on a comparison of brain scans). The study found “increased grey-matter density in the hippocampus, known to be important for learning and memory, and in structures associated with self-awareness, compassion and introspection.”

More benefits

But the appeal of meditation for me was unrelated to those benefits, although they were most welcome.

Before I started to mediate, I overreacted to anything negative, obsessed over dumb (and often trivial) mistakes I made and worried about the future.

But when I meditated, I was empowered to engage in an activity I hadn’t experienced in my adult life: Doing nothing. No deadlines. No anxiety. No contemplating the next anything. Meditation for me was total peace and relaxation.

The feeling of contentment and staying in the present carries over to other activities as well. Meditation (often called mindfulness) kicks in when I’m walking, playing tennis and interacting with others. I can keep my brain focused on whatever I’m doing instead of being distracted by thinking about what I should be doing, or what I should not have done.