What are the benefits of taking fifteen minutes out of your busy morning to practice meditation? Can it really reduces stress and help you lead a healthier lifestyle? This article will take a closer look at meditation and answer these questions and more.
Different types of meditation
Although there are many types of meditation, here are three.
Mindfulness meditation is based on living in the present moment and having an increased awareness. Focus on what your experience during meditation, your breath flow or heart beat. Observe thoughts and emotions letting without judging them.
Mantra meditation calls for silently repeating calm thoughts or phrases to prevent distractions. A popular type of mantra meditation is transcendental meditation, where you reach deep relaxation and “pure awareness”.
Guided meditation means you create mental imagery of relaxing places or situations. Include as many senses as possible. Incorporate textures, sights, sounds and smells. Sometimes a teacher or guide will lead the meditation.
How does meditation help bodily functions?
Among the many suggested health benefits of meditation, it is believed that meditation may help these four ways.
- Lowered blood pressure. Slow breathing is believed to increase increased baroreflex sensitivity (“the reflex response to stimulation of baroreceptors of the carotid sinus and aortic arch, regulating blood pressure by controlling heart rate, strength of heart contractions, and diameter of blood vessels” –www.medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/reflex ).
- Improved immune response. Studies have shown that stress and other psychological factors can affect the immune system and meditation can positively imact the immune system as well.
- Pain management. Clinical observations observed positive outcomes in quality of life improvement and increased pain tolerance for chronic pain patients after beginning a series of meditation. Studies found that other forms of meditation reduced the emotional distress associated with pain; thus an increased pain threshold.
- Slower aging process. As previously stated, meditation appears to protect against stress and enhance the immune system. Recent studies have been shown a reduction in the neuronal decay due to the average aging process.
How does meditation help mental health?
Besides helping to gain a better perspective on negative circumstances, meditation is believed to help build stress management skills, increased self-awareness, and prevent depression relapse.
So what are the benefits of taking fifteen minutes out of your busy morning to practice meditation? Perhaps it may be worth a few moments of your time each day to test it for yourself.
1. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/meditation/HQ01070 -Meditation: Take a stress-reduction break wherever you are
2. http://stroke.ahajournals.org/cgi/reprint/31/3/568.pdf effectects of stress reduction on carotid arterosclerosis in hypertensive African Americans
3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1482831/pdf/nihms2905.pdf Long-Term Effects of Stress Reduction on Mortality in Persons ≥55 Years of Age With Systemic Hypertension
4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2170475/pdf/nihms29700.pdf Neuroimaging of meditation’s effect on brain reactivity to pain