The benefits of meditation are numerous and the scientific benefits of meditation are still being studied and identified. While the practice of meditation in eastern cultures goes back thousands of years it is relatively new in western countries. But those of us who meditate regularly wonder how on earth we managed our ‘life before meditation’.
What kind of meditation are we talking about?
There are a variety of ways to meditate. We most often hear of the practice of mindfulness meditation techniques, where the meditator concentrates on one thing: maybe the breath, a mantra (repeated word or sound), or a series of beautiful sounds as in Omni-Sync Meditation. Each time thoughts arise the meditator brings his or her awareness back to that one thing – which exists only in the present moment. I would go so far as to say all meditation has this element of mindfulness whether the meditator is practicing yoga, observing bodily sensations, listening to sounds or participating in a guided imagery. It is all about concentration and awareness of the mind.
Does the practice of meditation have a positive effect on people’s health?
Absolutely. In each one of us there is a mind/body interconnection that gives rise to the significant health benefits of meditation. For example, if you lower your stress levels you decrease the levels of the harmful stress hormone cortisol in your body. When your mind is relaxed your body relaxes.
So tell me more: why is meditation good for you?
Well let’s deal with stress and anxiety a little more. These are huge and increasing problems in our society today. The management of stress, anxiety disorder and panic attacks is leading to increased use of anti-anxiety medications. Stress and anxiety can be crippling. It is as though your mind and body seize up. If you have experienced a panic attack there is no need to describe the slow rising grip in your tummy reaching up to your chest and culminating in a cold sweat!
By meditating as little as 10 to 20 minutes a day stress and anxiety begin to decrease. You will actually learn to use this wonderful method as a tool to manage stress and manage depression. In other words, you can learn how to manage anxiety naturally. Evidence shows that both cortisol and blood lactates are reduced and serotonin production, the happy brain chemical, is increased.
The important outcome from all this is that you will be happier!
What are the benefits of meditation for my body?
As you become more relaxed and at ease with regular meditation there are numerous general health benefits of meditation. And they are many. Regular meditation contributes to a lowering of blood pressure and boosts the immune system. As you know high blood pressure can lead to heart disease and strokes while a poor immune system can make us more vulnerable to cancer and auto-immune diseases such as arthritis.
Because you are more relaxed you are less likely to be subject to tension, pain and headaches and you will have more energy to deal with what life throws up and at you.
How else can meditation improve my daily life?
Meditation enables you to be more self-aware, more aware and in control of your emotions, attention and concentration. Just that small amount of time every day allows you to get to know and understand yourself in a very deep way and in a way that you have never known before.
- Your ability to learn will improve. Numerous studies now show that meditation can actually improve the cognitive function of the brain. Amazingly meditation can actually increase your brain’s grey matter!
- Increased self-awareness and greater control is a characteristic of the role of meditation in addiction recovery. That same self-awareness can also help in curbing and changing undesirable eating habits.
- It can increase attention span and help you to become more focused.
- Have you wondered how to enhance creativity and innovation? Think about the way a good sleep can help you solve a problem. Well, meditation takes you deeper into your subconscious and at the same time your mind becomes more open to new ideas. You become less critical and more receptive to innovation. In addition, because you are experiencing less stress you mind will be clearer and more vibrant.
And what is more, by learning to observe your thoughts and emotions you will be less likely to lose your temper and make wrongful decisions!
Begin the meditation effect now. Begin cultivating mindfulness. Begin to gain those long term benefits of meditation.