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How Mindful Meditation Can Help Improve Your Mood When You're Stressed

As you may be aware, meditation is the practice of clearing your mind to return to a place of straightforward thinking. But according to a recent study, meditation might also be a great way to improve your mood whenever you're stressed.

A November 2018 study published in Stress & Health analyzed 134 mildly stressed adults who were either assigned to a six-week mindfulness meditation training program or a waitlist control. So what's "mindfulness" in this context, exactly? It's a certain type of meditation that allows people to be totally aware of the present moment — without concern about the past or future — and calmly accept their feelings about the here and the now. Results showed that the participants who learned this type of meditation saw a significant reduction of subjective distress. Specifically, these folks experienced less worry, anxiety, anger, self-criticism, and life dissatisfaction when compared to the people who didn't take the meditation course.

Researchers said these results suggest that this type of training gives people the chance to observe and experience their reactions to stress with more acceptance and calmness. "In turn, this impartial receptiveness buffers initial threat appraisals, and subsequently, reduces emotional reactivity, potentially leading to greater health," researchers said in a press release.

As if that didn't sound promising enough, this new study is just one part of an ever-growing body of research that supports giving meditation a try. If you're curious about other health benefits of meditation, you're certainly not alone. Many folks who are new to the idea are wondering if the activity is worth a shot as a way to boost their well-being. Maybe you know a friend who does morning meditation every day and seems to always be the picture of good health. Or maybe you met with a doctor who can't stop talking about meditation, mindfulness, and the perks that come from focusing on your breathing. But does meditation work as a way to truly improve your wellness, or is that nothing but hype?

Science appears to be on meditation's side. Several studies have linked the practice to helping with migraine relief, weight loss, better sleep, and improved heart health, among other things. Although meditation is traditionally associated with Eastern philosophies and religions, it has surged in popularity in the United States in recent years as a more secular activity to help people relieve stress. So it's pretty neat that new meditation daily benefits are being discovered all the time. Scroll below to see more of the best health benefits of meditation.