Meditation Goes Mainstream: A Deep Dive into the Statistics and Benefits

As a small business owner, I understand firsthand the pressures and anxiety that come with entrepreneurship. To maintain focus and reduce stress, I depend on a regular meditation practice. I‘m not alone – meditation has seen immense growth recently as more people discover its scientifically-proven benefits.

Let‘s take a data-driven look at meditation adoption, market size, research around impacts, and recommendations for entrepreneurs.

The Rise of Meditation in Numbers

Meditation is going mainstream in a big way:

  • 15.2% of American adults meditated in 2017, up 67% from 9.2% in 2012 [1]
  • There are an estimated 200 to 500 million meditators globally as of 2016 [2]
  • The meditation market was worth $1.21 billion in 2018 and is projected to reach $2.08 billion by 2020 [3]

Driving much of this growth is the popularity of meditation apps like Calm and Headspace:

  • Top meditation apps generated over $195 million in revenue in 2019, up 52% year-over-year [4]
  • Headspace has over 65 million downloads and 1 million paid subscribers [5]
  • Calm became the #1 app in the health and fitness category with 54 million downloads by 2019 [6]
Year Global Meditation Market Value
2018 $1.21 billion
2020 (projected) $2.08 billion
2028 (projected) $5.46 billion

The Scientifically-Proven Benefits of Meditation

Let‘s explore what the research says about the many benefits of meditation for both mind and body.

For Mental Health

Numerous studies have found meditation effective at improving mental health:

  • Mindfulness meditation may reduce depression relapse by up to 15% over 60 weeks [7]
  • After just 8 weeks of training, mindfulness meditation led to a 22% reduction in anxiety scores [8]
  • A meta-analysis found mindfulness meditation reduced PTSD symptoms like negative self-talk and social detachment [9]
  • Just 4 days of integrative body-mind training (IBMT) improved attention and focus scores significantly [10]

As someone who has managed depression and anxiety while building my business, I can attest firsthand to the mood-boosting benefits of regular mindfulness meditation.

For Physical Health

The benefits of meditation extend to physical health as well:

  • Transcendental meditation reduced heart disease-related mortality by 16% over 5 years [11]
  • 50% of patients with insomnia saw improvements after meditating just 3 months [12]
  • For chronic back pain, 60% of patients saw a >33% reduction in pain after 8 weeks of mindfulness meditation [13]
  • Intensive meditation may slow cellular aging – after retreats, telomerase levels increased by 43% [14]

As an entrepreneur that spends many hours at a desk, meditation has been crucial for reducing back pain and headaches.

For Workplace Productivity

Given the benefits, it‘s no wonder workplace meditation programs are on the rise:

  • 53% of U.S. employers already offer mindfulness meditation training [15]
  • After meditation training, employee productivity increased by 120% [16]
  • Absenteeism decreased by 85% in regular meditators [16]

I can vouch that meditation gives me the focus for deep work and creativity needed to run my business. The reduction in stress also improves decision-making skills.

Recommendations for Entrepreneurs

Here are my top tips for entrepreneurs looking to reap the benefits of meditation:

  • Start small – Even 5-10 minutes per day can confer benefits. Build a habit before increasing duration.
  • Try apps – Headspace, Calm, Insight Timer all provide guided meditations. Many offer free content.
  • Be consistent – The benefits compound with regular, daily practice. Set reminders to build the habit.
  • Measure results – Track metrics like focus hours, stress levels, and sleep quality.
  • Learn proper technique – Checkout classes and YouTube tutorials on posture, breathing, and mindfulness.
  • Find a community – Having an accountability partner or group improves consistency.

The research shows meditation can profoundly improve mental and physical wellbeing. As an entrepreneur, the benefits to focus, creativity, decision-making and managing stress make meditation a worthy investment. Start small, be consistent, measure benefits, and find community. The compounding returns over time can accelerate both business and personal goals.


[2] Journal of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine
[3] Statista
[4] CNBC
[5] Headspace
[6] Calm
[7] JAMA Psychiatry
[8] Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
[9] Depression & Anxiety
[10] Journal of Cognitive Enhancement
[11] American Heart Association
[12] JAMA Internal Medicine
[13] JAMA
[14] Psychoneuroendocrinology
[15] SHRM
[16] TM Program