Meditation isn’t just for your woo-woo wellness friends anymore. Everyone from actors to media moguls are swearing by its ability to help boost productivity, reduce stress levels and make you feel more connected to your loved ones. To explain why people are flocking to this traditionally spiritual practice, we asked experts to give us the lowdown on how meditation can benefit our careers, appearance, attitudes and relationships. Read on to find out which on-screen cowboy, royal family member and CEO can’t stop singing the praises of meditation.
1. Alicia Keys
Since Alicia Keys became the face of the #NoMakeup movement, we’ve gotten more than a few glimpses at just how amazing her skin is. But it turns out the secret to her glowing look has more to do with just pricey Hollywood beauty products. California-based Guru Jagat revealed last year that the 15-time Grammy winner prevents aging by practicing Kundalini yoga. So how can meditation give your beauty a boost? “Kundalini yoga and meditation activates your glandular system like nothing else can. When the glands are secreting properly and rhythmically you have a clear mind, balanced metabolism, reserves of vitality and a natural glow and radiance,” Guru Jagat tells LIVESTRONG.COM. “You can make a major shift and achieve serious results with even just a simple daily practice consisting of a few exercises.”
Up next: This A-list actress is another major fan of Kundalini yoga…
2. Kate Hudson
Kate Hudson also practices with Guru Jagat, crediting Kundalini yoga with helping her to overcome hard times in her life. “The meditation, breathing and focus helps to calm,” the actress tells People. “The practice builds trust with yourself and attunes you to a feeling of love, forgiveness and compassion.” According to Guru Jagat, Kundalini yoga goes beyond just movement, making it a more holistic practice than some other forms of yoga. “A typical experience includes yoga postures similar to what you might experience in other styles of yoga, but it also integrates dynamic and powerful breath, meditation, as well as sound and mantra,” she says.
Up next: It turns out meditation runs in the family…
3. Goldie Hawn
Though actress and lifelong dancer Goldie Hawn admits that she has a hard time staying still, she recently revealed that she’ll slow down for a meditation session. During a recent interview with People, the “Snatched” actress spilled her secrets to feeling and looking ageless, and daily meditation is among them. “I have short meditation spurts during the day, if I don’t have a long one in the morning, which sometimes the phone rings and you’re off and running. But I do find time to get quiet,” she says.
Up next: How this actress avoids turning to prescription drugs…
4. Katy Perry
Katy Perry spoke openly about how meditation has helped alleviate her anxiety during a panel at the Unite to Cure health conference at Vatican City earlier this year. “Instead of having to turn to prescription [drugs] I’ve been able to turn to this,” she said, according to Newsweek. One study from researchers at Harvard Medical School found that practicing meditation shrinks the amygdala, which is the part of your brain that regulates stress and anxiety. According to Los Angeles-based Tantric meditation teacher Hilary Jackendoff, when the amygdala has less of an influence, you’re able to more immediately recognize that a stressful situation isn’t life-threatening, allowing you to make clear-headed decisions about how best to move forward.
Speaking of which, practicing meditation daily helps this actress restrain her road rage…
5. Kristen Bell
Kristen Bell goes through life with a calm smile on her face, and now we know why: She meditates. “Do meditative yoga for 10 minutes every morning. When you have a problem — whether it’s road rage, your guy or work — meditation allows everything to unfold the way it’s supposed to,” she told Shape. According to Jackendoff, meditation causes the prefrontal cortex to grow stronger and larger, increasing our capacity for executive functioning and rational decision-making. “Meditation teaches you that you are not your thoughts or your emotions,” Jackendoff says. “It helps us realize that these ever-changing experiences are like clouds passing through the sky — always shifting, always changing. We are not the clouds. We are the sky through which the clouds move.”
Up next: This on-screen cowboy is an unlikely fan of transcendental meditation…
6. Clint Eastwood
When Clint Eastwood isn’t taking names on the big screen, he’s beating stress with transcendental meditation, according to a video he recorded in support David Lynch’s Operation Warrior Wellness project, which offers transcendental meditation to people who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. “I’ve been using it for almost 40 years now, and I think it is a great tool for anyone to have to be able to utilize as a tool for stress," the 87-year-old actor, director and producer said. According to Jackendoff, transcendental meditation differs from mindfulness meditation in that it’s mantra-based. Mantra is a one-syllable or multisyllable phrase that is repeated over and over either mentally or out loud. “Mantra is a powerful tool to focus the mind,” she says. “In concentrating on
Up next: Why this media mogul decided to give meditation a try…
7. Rupert Murdoch
In 2013, media mogul Rupert Murdoch announced via Twitter that he had taken meditation. “Trying to learn transcendental meditation,” he writes. “Everyone recommends, not that easy to get started, but said to improve everything!” A Harvard study found that meditation increases density in the left hippocampus, an area of the brain involved in learning, cognition, memory and emotional regulation. And according to Diana Winston, director of education at the UCLA Mindfulness Awareness Research Center and author of “Fully Present: The Science, Art and Practice of Mindfulness,” being able to regulate your emotional responses can boost productivity at work, allowing you to focus without getting too stressed. So it’s no wonder that powerful people like Murdoch and the inspiring celebrity featured in the next slide swear by meditation.
8. Oprah Winfrey
Oprah doesn’t just meditate, she’s made it part of her life’s work. Since 2013, she’s worked with Deepak Chopra to produce multiple guided meditation programs to help her fans fight stress and lose weight. During an interview with Dr. Oz, she revealed that she, along with her entire company, began meditating back in 2011. After seeing her employees sleep better, build better relationships and experience fewer migraines, she decided to commit herself to daily meditation. “The one thing I want to continue to do is to center myself every day and make that a practice for myself, because I am one-thousand percent better when I do that, one-thousand percent better when I take myself back to something bigger than myself,” she explained.
Up next: This down-to-earth beauty makes time to meditate, despite her busy schedule…
9. Eva Mendes
Eva Mendes may be too busy with her two young daughters to hit the red carpet, but she still manages to carve out some “me” time to meditate. “I’m actually huge into meditation, transcendental meditation,” she tells Italian magazine Io Donna, according to Elle Australia. “That really helps create not only a sense of balance, but all the other stuff — this is going to sound cliche — but serenity and kind of a calm state of mind.” So what does it mean to achieve balance? According to Los Angeles-based psychologist Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D., founder of A Course in Mindful Living, our lives tend to be imbalanced because our attention is constantly fractured, meaning that we’ve got numerous things on our minds at all times. With meditation, you can relax you nervous system, which helps you to feel focused, “more grounded and more in control,” he says.
Up next: Guess which royal has a newfound love for meditation…
10. Meghan Markle
Meghan Markle’s commitment to wellness can be traced back to her upbringing as the daughter of a yoga instructor. But the new royal only recently picked up meditation as part of her routine. “On days I don’t make it to my [yoga] mat, I always make some time to meditate,” Markle told Women’s Health. “I was skeptical for years, but it truly does wonders!” Dr. Goldstein says that it can provide the same mental clarity that you get from exercise. In fact, he believes that the perfect time to meditate is after a workout. “With yoga and exercise, you’re opening the body and getting the blood flow going, which creates this sense of balance,” he says. “So when you’re settling into your meditation practice, you’re much more likely to feel grounded and balanced than if you’re coming from being on a smartphone, when you’re more likely to be really chaotic.”
Up next: This adorable Hollywood couple reveals the key to their long-lasting marriage…
11. Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness
Hugh Jackman and Deborah-Lee Furness have managed to defy the odds in Hollywood with their 22-year marriage. The pair recently revealed the unlikely secret to maintaining a healthy relationship: “Meditation!” Jackman told People. “We meditate together,” Furness added. “And sometimes we have friends over to do it too. It’s a lovely Sunday-morning thing. Everyone comes over, and then we have breakfast.” According to Dr. Goldstein, meditating together can help to bring partners onto the same page. For example, if one person had a stressful day at work and the other had an amazing day, a miscommunication could quickly lead to an argument. But with meditation they can align and get on the same level emotionally so that they’re better able to communicate and connect.
Up next: This media magnate shares her secret to starting her days off right…
12. Arianna Huffington
Lady boss Arianna Huffington’s book “The Sleep Revolution” proves that she’s serious about sleep. But she wants you to know that how you wake up matters too. “A big part of my morning ritual is about what I don’t do: When I wake up, I don’t start the day by looking at my smartphone,” she tells High Existence. “Instead, once I’m awake, I take a minute to breathe deeply, be grateful and set my intention for the day. Then I do 20 to 30 minutes of meditation and 30 minutes on my stationary bike on days when I’m home.” The Huffington Post co-founder, president and editor-in-chief also provided some choice advice for those of us who aren’t on her level (yet). “Introduce just five minutes of meditation to your day,” she says. “Eventually, you can build up to 15 or 20 minutes a day (or more), but even just a few minutes will open the door to creating a new habit.”
What Do YOU Think?
Do you meditate? If so, how and when do you like to do it? If not, are you interested in adding it to your daily routine? Let us know in the comments.