In my last blog I talked about stress and how stress can be dangerous. I then talked of ways to de stress our lives by following some simple techniques like Meditation.
In this blog I am going to talk of meditation and its health benefits in detail. Most foreigners be it the Americans or the Europeans aren’t raised to sit and say “Om.” But, today whether it is outside of India or within our country at every nook and corner you can find a yoga and meditation centre. Meditation has gained millions of converts, helping them ease chronic pain, anxiety, stress, improve heart health, boost mood and immunity, and resolve lot of medical issues even pregnancy problems.
According to doctors any condition that’s caused or worsened by stress can be alleviated through meditation. Peace is something we all seek for, or let’s say satisfaction is something we all long for. Satisfaction could be different for different people. For some satisfaction could mean happiness, for some it could be achievement. The influence of external factors in our life largely decides our state of mind to be happy, sad or angry.
We often seek for happiness or peace in the outside world. People have their own ways of finding peace or relaxing their mind. Most common practice is going out of town or getting away from our usual routine. It’s very necessary to find peace within us as not everyone can afford to go out of station often. So here is what we can do and also save some money in the process to reach our goal of happiness and peace- MEDITATE.
Meditation you can transform the mind. Meditation doesn’t mean that you have to sit in a particular posture and focus on any single point on the wall or certain point. The definition of meditation is different for different people. If you ask me, meditation is the art of focusing our attention (100%) in one area. We all believe that our mind gets maximum rest while sleeping; however the fact is that our mind gets rest and relief while meditating.
Doctors who recommend meditation say that the relaxation response [from meditation] helps decrease metabolism, lowers blood pressure, and improves heart rate, breathing, and brain waves. Tension and tightness seep from muscles as the body receives a quiet message to relax.
Articles in medical journals on Meditation indicate there are scientific evidences that show how meditation works. In people who are meditating, brain scans called MRI have shown an increase in activity in areas that control metabolism and heart rate. Other studies on Buddhist monks have shown that meditation produces long-lasting changes in the brain activity in areas involved in attention, working memory, learning, and conscious perception.
There are some dangerous myths about meditation like:
1. Meditation is a religion: Meditation is not related to any religion. However meditation brings all religion together.
2. Just relaxation: Meditation is not about just relaxation like sitting on your sofa or lying on your resting chair, meditation helps to produce specific chemical changes in the brain. For example, Transcendental meditation is known to cause the brain to release a soothing hormone known as prolactin.
3. Sit in the lotus posture to meditate: There is a myth that meditating you should always sit in a lotus posture. However, while meditating it is more important to be comfortable and steady. You can sit cross-legged, on a chair, in a sofa – it is fine, but it is mandatory that you have to maintain the same position till you finish meditating.
4. Meditation is for old people: Most of the people believe that meditation is only for people who have reached a certain age or for old people. That is so untrue. Meditation is universal and anyone can do it. It adds value to lives of people of all age groups. A study in the American Journal of Hypertension showed that teenagers who meditated for 15 minutes twice a day for four months were able to lower their blood pressure a few points.10 minutes of meditation in the morning clean your mind, it gives zeal and enthusiasm.
5. Meditation is like hypnotizing yourself: Most of the people believe that Meditation is hypnotising yourself. But, that’s again false. In hypnotism no one is aware what he or she is going through, however in meditation you are always aware of each and every moment.
If you are feeling tensed, tired, depressed or anxious or stressed, the one simple word I can suggest or recommend is ‘Meditation’. Five to 10 minutes of meditation will help you relax and get over your stress and restore your calm and inner peace.
Anyone can start meditating with a small practice. It’s really very simple and does not require you to visit therapists or a practitioner of meditation. It also does not require any equipment. You can practice meditation whenever and wherever you are – in office, home, in the bus or train, or waiting at the doctor’s clinic or even in the middle of a difficult business meeting.
Meditation works as a medicine of mind and body and produces a deep state of relaxation. During meditation, we centralize our attention and get rid of the unwanted stress-causing thoughts. This process results in enhanced physical and emotional well-being.
Some great Benefits of Meditation:
Psychological Benefits: Reduces stress and anxiety, increases creativity and intelligence. Reduces depression, increases learning ability, reasoning and memory power, reduces irritability and moodiness, Feelings of vitality and rejuvenation, increase emotional control, self-esteem, alertness, Improves relationships and also concentration
Physiological Benefits: May help lower blood pressure, Prevents or relives any pain, boosts immune system- with meditation higher levels of antibodies are produced against the flu virus, according to the study in Psychosomatic Medicine, lowers blood cholesterol levels, improves airflow through the respiratory system, especially in those with asthma, Youngers your biological age.
Women can also benefit through meditation. Quoting a study from an article in WebMD, the article says that PMS symptoms subsided by 58% when women meditated. certain other issues such as anxiety, depression, and fatigue can also be reduced by a regular meditation program.