Meditation is becoming so popular these days; you would think its a new type of dance form. Successful people all over the world from CEOs to simple farmers credit meditation as key for their prosperity and well-being. Science is discovering what wisdom traditions have been teaching for a long time meditation is one of the best things you can do for your mental and physical health. Here are a few of the many reasons you may want to start meditating today.
Meditation is excellent for relaxing the body and mind. A consistent meditation practice lowers blood pressure over time. It helps calm and balance the nervous system, reducing the production of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. It also stimulates release of the neurotransmitters associated with relaxation and pleasure. Studies have discovered that meditation relaxes the mind more than recreational activities like watching movies.
In meditation we train our minds to remain present in the moment. We also concentrate on a single point of focus such as a candle flame, a sacred word, or our breath. This relaxed concentration translates to an enhanced ability to concentrate in all areas of our lives.
Meditators tend to have more mental clarity. Meditation is like a shower for the brain, helping us more clearly see what is really happening inside and around us. A study at Massachusetts General Hospital found that after eight weeks of daily meditation the participants had beneficial growth in the areas of the brain associated with memory, stress regulation, and self-awareness.
Meditation supports the health of the immune system, which protects us from viruses and toxins. Meditation calms the nervous system, which enables the immune system to work more efficiently. It has been shown to increase the production of antibodies and stimulate the areas of the brain that command the immune system.
When we are relaxed, clear, and focused, it is a lot easier to be creative. Meditation clears the mental chatter so that ideas can flow in more easily. It also activates the areas of the brain associated with creativity and comprehension.
Meditation cultivates mindfulness, the ability to be more aware of what we are experiencing and doing in each moment. People who meditate in conjunction with active weight loss efforts tend to be more effective at shedding unwanted pounds because the meditation trains them to observe without reacting. This translates to more mindfulness around eating habits, the ability to observe cravings without giving into them, the perseverance to continue exercising, and a greater degree of self-love and compassion.
Meditation increases circulation, which helps to reduce inflammation. And a recent study showed that meditating alters our genetic structure and reduces the number of pro-inflammatory genes. So it does not just clear out inflammation that already exists, but actually changes our genetic makeup so that our bodies produce less inflammation in the first place.
Decrease Anxiety and Depression
Meditation directly affects the areas of the brain connected to anxiety and depression. It decreases stress, increases production of essential neurotransmitters, and opens receptor sites to those beneficial neurotransmitters to ensure the brain responds more positively to life experiences. Several clinical trials discovered that meditation can be as effective as chemical anti-depressants at relieving depression.
Meditation trains us to observe our current experience. We learn to witness life without attachment or aversion. Over time this increases our equanimity. We cultivate an increased connection to the witness, that aspect of ourselves that is beyond our personality, emotions, desires, and worries. This makes it a lot easier for us to take things in stride and accept the highs and lows of life without getting lost in either extreme.
Enjoy the Life You Have
Meditation helps us appreciate the present moment. Instead of being constantly pulled into the past or future, thinking about what we wish would happen or are afraid might happen, we are more aware of the now. This makes us notice the little things, everything there is to enjoy in this moment, the many beautiful things that happen every day. Meditation helps us feel more grateful for all the blessings and growth opportunities of life.
Thousands of research studies all over the world have proven that meditation is a powerful tool for physical, mental, and emotional health. And science is still discovering what mystics and people who live close to nature have known for a very long time meditation helps us be more ourselves.
Instead getting caught up in the swirling madness of our busy world, meditation helps us keep a calm center and navigate through all of lifes experiences. It has no side effects, is free, and can be practiced at any time in any place. All you need to do is be still, observe your breath, and focus your mind on your present moment experience.