According to researchers at the University of California, Davis, and the University of California, San Francisco, meditation has many positive psychological benefits, including increased stress management skills and an increased overall sense of well-being. These positive changes that occur during meditation are associated with greater activity of telomerase, an enzyme important for the long-term health of cells in the body. Telomerase has been associated with a reversal or slowing down of the aging process as well as an improvement in immune function. Meditators demonstrated the greatest improvement on various psychological measures (e.g., observing one's experience in a nonreactive manner) and purpose in life (viewing one's life as meaningful, worthwhile, and aligned with long-term goals and values) and had higher levels of telomerase than non meditators (UC Davis News and Information, 2010).
Neuroscientists have found that meditators mentally shift their brain activity to different areas of the cortex. In other words, brain waves in the stress-prone right frontal cortex move to the calmer left frontal cortex. This mental shift decreases the negative effects of stress, mild depression, fear, and anxiety (Allen, 2016).
The following psychological changes occur with regular meditation practice:
Improved mental and emotional health
Reduced perception of stress
Reduced anxiety and depression
Increased degree of self-actualization
Increased locus of control
Decreased tendency to worry
Improved concentration and focus
Enhanced feelings of happiness
Increased sense of peace and well-being
Increased awareness and spiritual calm
Decreased psychological “rumination”
Increased ability to regulate behavior
Increased resilience and adaptability