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Breathe In, Breathe Out: Why More People Are Meditating

When you can't find your own beach in person...is meditation a way to find peace?
When you can't find your own beach in person...is meditation a way to find peace?

Does it seem like everyone has picked up a meditation practice lately?

Apps like Headspace, Ten Percent Happier and Calm reported a dramatic increase in users since the beginning of social distancing.  Headspace, for example, says their download rate has doubled since mid-March, and fourteen times more users are completing one of the app’s stress-calming meditations.

Celebrities, too, are praising meditation as a tool to fight the stress caused by the pandemic. Pop star Lizzo and supermodel Gisele Bundchen are urging their followers on Instagram to join them in meditation.

Researchers have been building evidence of the benefits of meditation for decades. It can help lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, improve depression, help attention and focus, and reduce the stress of loneliness and social isolation.

But these benefits have largely been studied through in-person meditation programs, not through apps or social media.

What do we know about how and why meditation helps us? And are those benefits especially useful during a pandemic?

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