Meditation isn’t just for the mind – it’s a practice that has far-reaching physical applications too. The best part is, the health benefits of meditation are perfect for helping the body cope with today’s busy, fast-paced, hectic and stressful lifestyles… lifestyles that are often not exactly body-friendly.
Meditation is a great stress-reduction technique for even the most type-A workaholic kind of people. It is only now becoming mainstream because the public generally saw meditation as “weird” and something that only monks, yogis and hippies did.
Many studies prove that meditation helps reduce high blood pressure, which is a common “lifestyle disease” of the modern age.
High blood pressure can be caused by stress; unhealthy diets high in salt and fat and low in fresh green vegetables; a sedentary lifestyle; and obesity. All of these can be altered – but the reality is, many people do not readily adopt healthy lifestyle habits because they’re too “set in their ways.”
Only a relatively small percentage of the population has a true “health mindset” where daily exercise, quality sleep, stress management and excellent nutrition are non-negotiable parts of their day.
That’s why many people (who do not have this health mindset) struggle to find the motivation to exercise and make the healthiest food choices – but meditation can help change that around, so that you actually want to get out and move your body, and consciously choose food that nourishes you instead of temporarily satiates you and later leaves you feeling sick.
Meditation can help mitigate stress-related ailments by stimulating activity in the body’s parasympathetic nervous system and suppressing activity in the sympathetic nervous system; and by getting you used to not being in a stressed-out and hurried state of mind – in other words…
Get used to “not doing” all day long and actually give yourself time for true relaxation.
What’s really amazing is that when you practice meditation regularly, the time you spend on “red alert” – i.e. stressed out – diminishes significantly.
Things that used to send you into a tailspin barely even register as problems or issues anymore – simply because you can choose your interpretation of a situation and your response to it, and direct your thoughts to a positive solution instead of getting stuck in the situation.
This means that you can bounce back quickly from stressful situations and avoid the constant fight-or-flight stressed out state that will eventually wreak havoc on your body.
Meditation also boosts the body’s immune system.
This is believed to be a direct result of the increased activity in the parasympathetic nervous system, or the body’s “rest, digest and repair” mechanism.
Stress accounts for over 60% of doctor visits so imagine the impact on your health care bills if you were to practice regularly!
Since meditation lessens the stress response, and stress is a known cause or contributing factor to all of the major modern diseases and disorders, it stands to reason that a regular meditation practice can keep you healthier.
It’s well known that stress, depression and anger have direct physical consequences including heart trouble. The relaxation response that results from meditation improves heart health, and can help encourage the kinds of self-loving thoughts that lead to better choices and more health-minded behaviors.
Is this proven? Yes. MRI scans have shown an increase in activity within the areas of the brain that control heart rate and metabolism. The soothing power of meditation lies primarily in its repetitive nature.
For example, focusing on the breath for 30 minutes – or listening to a brainwave entrainment track, or repeating a mantra – quickly stimulates a relaxed state of awareness. You can literally feel your body relax, your breathing slow and deepen, your heart rate slow… and as your thoughts stop racing and your emotions balance, you feel an extremely deep and profound sense of peace washing over you.
In short, meditation can be considered a vital part of your daily self-care regimen.
Not only does it have immediate and far-reaching results, but it also encourages the development of healthy habits that can completely change the status of your health and wellbeing!