Those who meditate regularly have lower stress levels and blood pressure and stronger immune function and brainpower than those who don't - and now, new research reveals why.
According to the study by Harvard University and Justus Liebig University, the four key components of mindfulness meditation help us deal with stress, which consequently lowers blood pressure and boosts the immune system.
These are attention regulation, body awareness, emotion regulation and sense of self - all things that experts believe contribute towards a healthy immune system and enhanced cognitive function.
"Understanding the relationships between these components, and the brain mechanisms that underlie them, will allow clinicians to better tailor mindfulness interventions for their patients," says Dr Britta Hazel from the study, published in the Perspectives on Psychological Science journal.
The team hope further research on the benefits of meditation will be prompted by these findings, as they believe it could, "change both in psychotherapy and in everyday life".
Don't know your mindfulness from your transcendental meditation? Life coach, Sophia Davis explains the basics...
"Transcendental Meditation was launched into the spotlight a few years back when various celebrities started using it. It has been claimed as one of the most effective ways to combat stress, and in only 10 minutes a day can change the way you feel physically and emotionally in just 8 weeks. Transcendental works on the basis that you don't have to shut off your thoughts, so its perfect if you have an overactive mind.
"This is usually done either with the help of a CD, YouTube, or a teacher. Someone will use their voice to guide you into a meditative state. Guided meditations work with anything from sleep issues, to stress to clearing energy and boosting the immune system. They are usually from 30 mins to 1 hour long and you will find yourself drifting off to a blissful place. Be careful though to find a teacher or a CD you feel comfortable with, and allow yourself time and quiet space to complete this type of meditation."
"Yoga is becoming extremely popular and is in itself a form of meditation. It uses the body the mind and the emotional being and integrates them so they work in line with each other. There are many different types of yoga. Bikram is becoming increasingly in demand, and most gyms and fitness centres offer some form of yoga class. If you like to keep active, this one will definitely work for you, and keep you fit and healthy at the same time. Try www.sahajayoga.org for some free classes in the UK."
"This is one of the most ancient meditation techniques. This is about focusing your attention to your body. Really being aware of what is going on for you physically and gaining clarity on the causes. There are many places to practice this technique, and residential retreats both in the UK and abroad if you want to get a kick start!"
"It may sounds too good to be true, but a great way to meditate requiring nothing but yourself, is simply by concentrating on your breath. You close your eyes, focus on your breathing, and listen to it for anything from 5 mins, to 30 mins initially. Its wonderful to calm you down and relax you and you will find yourself energised and with a sense of clarity when you finish."