Even more research is drawing a clear link between mindfulness meditation and lowered stress.
A new study in the journal Health Psychology shows an association between increased mindfulness and decreased levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
"This is the first study to show a direct relation between resting cortisol
and scores on any type of mindfulness scale," study researcher Tonya
Jacobs, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Davis
Center for Mind and Brain, said in a statement.
For the study, 57 people spent three months in a meditation retreat,
where they were taught mindful breathing, observation skills, and
cultivation of "positive" mental states like compassion. At the beginning and end of the retreat, the participants also had
their cortisol levels measured with a saliva test, and their mindfulness
levels rated on a scale, which Jacobs explained in the statement
"measured the participants' propensity to let go of distressing thoughts
and attend to different sensory domains, daily tasks, and the current
contents of their minds."
Researchers noted that the participants' mindfulness scores on the
scale were higher at the end of the retreat than at the beginning. Plus,
they found an association between increases in mindfulness and
decreases in cortisol levels in the saliva. However, it's important to note that this study did not use a control
group to compare cortisol levels to. Researchers noted that future
studies should include a larger group of participants and a study design
that includes a control group.
Source - Huff Post