Science shows that for most people, their personal level of happiness or contentment remains constant over time and is not ultimately affected by particularly good or bad events. Although a good or bad event may affect personal happiness in the short term, long term and overall levels of happiness are mostly determined by a personal “baseline happiness index.” This week, Forbes reports on how meditation increases happiness by improving this “baseline happiness index.”
Practicing meditation and guided imagery for peace and happiness has been shown, through various studies, a reduction in stress and increased emotional stability. Several recent brain imaging studies also show that meditation improves neuroplasticity, which relates to the brain’s ability to form new neural pathways and learn new skills. Increased neuroplasticity is also associated with improved cognitive function.
The most important factor for both happiness and stress reduction is consistency. Some mediation advocates suggest that as little as two minutes of meditation a day over a three week period is enough to begin to see the health benefits of meditation. Beginners can learn meditation basics and develop the habit using guided meditation audio programs.
If you are new to meditation or have tried unsuccessfully to cultivate a meditative practice in past, consider the programs in our Learn To Meditate category. Here are a few examples: