Just as there are many different types of meditation, there are many different possible effects of meditation. Some forms of meditation are primarily intended to bring about a deep and abiding sense of calm that leads to an increased sense of stability and emotional well-being. Others have a religious or spiritual focus and are intended to increase one's connection to God or to help one toward some form of enlightenment. Some people meditate in order to mentally work through the difficulties and trials of their day-to-day lives. The effects of meditation of this form include an improved ability to handle problems and stress and a calmer, more reflective approach to life in general.
One of the important elements of all forms of meditation is relaxation. It is often impossible to effectively meditate without reaching a state of deep calm. The effects of meditation of any form, then, tend to include a reduction in stress and an increase in emotional stability. Simply taking time out of one's day to remove oneself from the world and focus on becoming calm can have a dramatic effect on one's life.
Meditation for religious or spiritual gain is quite common. The effects of meditation of this form include stress reduction and an increased sense of well-being, and may also involve deepening one's religious views or spiritual well-being. Many individuals in the Judeo-Christian religions tend to meditate on specific concepts or teachings, often from their sacred scriptures. Other forms of meditation, such as many types of Buddhist meditation, do not involve contemplation of any particular topic. Practitioners of such forms of meditation are instead encouraged to pointedly clear their minds and to avoid thought altogether.
The effects of meditation have also been studied from the perspective of neuroscience and psychology, as meditating is a prevalent practice that does seem to bring about some form of psychological change over time. It is commonly hypothesized that regular, intense meditation can actually change, to an extent, the way that the brain functions and may be able to bring about a state of improved health and well-being. Electroencephalography (EEG), which records brain electrical activity with diodes on the forehead, has suggested that the effects of meditation do actually influence the workings of the brain itself. Brain waves for individuals who have meditated intensely for thousands of hours during their lives have been shown, in some cases, to be drastically different from those of non-meditating people.