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The Value Of Meditation

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  • 8 min read

Life can be stressful. This is a fact that I’m sure most people, regardless of age or demographic, can agree on. Work responsibilities can be overwhelming, financial responsibilities burdensome, and family issues exhausting. Stress can severely affect both our mental and physical states, so it is important that we have methods to control and minimize it. In this sense, many people incorporate meditation into their daily lives to help restore calm and inner peace. The value of meditation also extends beyond just de-stressing. Meditation provides a number of benefits for the mind and the body. The best part? Meditation is simple and doesn’t require a gym membership or any sort of equipment to take part in. Whether you’re lying in bed, taking a stroll, or commuting on public transportation, meditation can be practised virtually anywhere.

A person is seen taking part in meditation as the sun shines in the sky.

Research suggests that meditation practices date back to the early stages of human existence.
Source: News Medical.

A Brief History on The value of meditation

The term meditation is derived from the Latin word meditatum which means “to ponder”. There are many different types of meditation that are practised around the globe. From the motionless practice of mindfulness meditation, based on the teachings of the Buddha, to movement based meditations such as yoga or tai chi. Although different, these approaches all share a similar goal. This is, to help the practicer become more aware of how their minds work. And also how their thoughts are connected to their behaviour and feelings. Meditation as a practice has roots reaching back to early human history.

Some psychologists speculate that meditations and group rituals around the campfire some 200,000 years ago helped our ancestors to develop the working memory which was an essential component of human evolution. The first written evidence for the practice of meditation can be found in ancient Indian Vedic texts. These texts date back to around 150 BC. As a result, meditation is often referred to as an ‘eastern’ practice. However, there are also examples of meditation in ancient western cultures. Through Pagan and Christian societies, dating back to the ancient Greeks, there were many examples of ritual and meditation.

A group of druids take part in a ritual at Stonehenge. Devotional practices, including meditation, are a core part of Druidry.
A Druidic ritual at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, Southern England. Druidry is a spiritual movement that maintains a core set of spiritual and devotional practices, including meditation.
Image source: Wikipedia.

The value in meditation

Mindfulness meditation is the form of meditation currently most popular in modern western society. This practice places a strong focus on breathing and self-awareness. Mindfulness meditation teaches you to let go of negativity, slow down your thoughts, and calm your body and mind. Mindfulness also places importance on living in the current moment, rather than worrying about the past or the future. Meditation practices such as mindfulness meditation generally don’t require any props or preparation to carry out. All you need to begin is a comfortable place to sit that is free from distractions. There are many benefits, both mental and physical that come from incorporating a meditation practice into your life. And to this day researchers continue to investigate meditation’s effects on the brain and the connection between meditation and general well-being. Some of the known benefits are given below.

Reduction of Stress & Anxiety

Many people see a reduction in stress and anxiety levels as a major value of meditation, leading them to incorporate some type of practice into their daily lives. During meditation, you train your mind to focus on the present. This helps to clear your mind of thoughts that may be contributing to stress. Studies on the effects of mindfulness meditation on stress, anxiety, and depression have shown positive links between mindfulness practice and a reduction in these negative factors. 

An influential study from 2009 investigated the effects of Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) on healthy subjects. MBSR is a clinically standardized meditation practice that is known to have efficacy in treating many physical and mental disorders. The authors of the study, Alberto Chiesa and Alessandro Serretti, found that MBSR was effective in reducing stress and in enhancing spirituality values. Istvan Schreiner and James Malcom conducted a study incorporating a 10-week mindfulness meditation program and found a reduction in the severity levels of stressors and reported depression by the end of the meditation course.

Improved Cognitive Function

Studies in the field of neuroscience have shown a positive correlation between prolonged meditation practice and improved cognitive function. A 2012 study used Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to observe the brains of both regular-meditators and non-meditators as they completed an attention and impulse control test. Their results showed that regular-meditators activated fewer brain regions than non-meditators in order to achieve the same results during the test. Such results, they argue, are evidence that meditation training can increase brain efficiency in attention and impulse control.

Other studies have shown a positive link between mindfulness meditation and an increase in grey matter density in the hippocampus. Such an increase contributes to enhanced learning, cognition, and memory, leading to improved retention of information and more mindful behaviour. Meditation practices have also shown promise in slowing age-related cognitive decline

Boosted Immune System

Amongst the plethora of other benefits that meditation provides, evidence also suggests a link between regular-practicers and a healthier immune system. With findings suggesting possible effects of mindfulness meditation on specific markers of inflammation, cell-mediated immunity, and biological ageing

These are just some of the benefits of meditation, but the list doesn’t stop there. The value of meditation for your mental and physical being is enormous! And research is still ongoing in this field as we continue to better our understanding of the inner workings of the human brain. 

A woman sits on her bed and reaps the values of meditation.

You can practice meditation from the comfort of your own home, and it offers an easy way to reduce stress and anxiety.
Source: UC Davis Health.

The Value of Meditation in Modern Society

Although meditation is an ancient practice there is still plenty of room for it in our modern society. In fact, with the stress filled lives that most people find themselves living, the value of meditation is perhaps more apparent now than it ever has been. As we explored above, there are a number of direct health benefits from taking part in regular meditation. However, the value of meditation in modern society lies in its potential to generally promote holistic well-being and also to cultivate a deeper sense of meaning and fulfilment in life. 

Plenty of online guides exist to walk you through the basics of meditation if you want to start and try it out yourself. So now that you know the values of meditation, what are you waiting for? The next time you have five to ten minutes free find yourself a comfortable spot and dive into the soothing practice of meditation.

A Thrivable Framework

At The THRIVE Project our goal is to advocate for a future in which all life on Earth will not only survive but also thrive. THRIVE Framework examines issues and evaluates potential solutions – making predictive analyses using topics that support environmental and social sustainability transformations. We recognise that human happiness can sometimes compete with environmental well-being. This is why we use our Ciambella chart to illustrate the ‘thrivable zone’. THRIVE emphasizes the possibility of satisfying environmental, ecological, and social needs concurrently, without having to compromise.

This month THRIVE follows the theme of The United Nations SDG 3 – Good health and well-being. SDG 3 aims  to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all, at all ages. Meditation is just one of many self-care practices that can help you live a more healthy and improve your general-wellbeing. If you would like to learn more about thrivability you can subscribe to our free newsletter. You can also check out our informative podcast series and watch some of our educational Youtube content. Additionally, come along to our webinar events to hear talks from experts in the field of thrivability.


  • Ben Shaw

    Ben is a passionate environmentalist currently pursuing a Master's degree in Environmental Science at the University of Melbourne. His love for the outdoors and immersion in nature has fueled his passion for conservation, with a particular interest in the unique wildlife endemic to Australia. Ben aspires to direct his career towards making impactful conservation efforts and establishing a future in which all forms of life can thrive.