Meditation is a mind and body practice that has been around for thousands of years. Traditionally, it is used to reach a deeper connection with one’s spiritual being, and to cultivate feelings of self-love, contentment and joy in everyday life.
While everybody meditates in different ways, most forms of meditation have four basic elements in common: a quiet, distraction-free environment; a specific, comfortable posture, such as sitting cross-legged on the floor or sitting in a chair with your back straight and feet flat on the floor; a focus of attention on something such as a mantra, an image, a color, or music; and an open attitude, letting distractions come and go easily.
For many people, the only thing holding them back from meditating is the feeling that they don’t have enough time in the day to set aside for the spiritual practice. But did you know that mediation also has a multitude of physical benefits? Setting aside just a few minutes a day to quiet your mind and bring your focus inward has been shown to reduce a variety of common ailments, such as:
- High Blood Pressure
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Chronic Pain
- Anxiety, Depression and Insomnia
- Menopausal Symptoms (Hot Flashes, Sleep Disturbances, Muscle Pain, etc.)
Ongoing research also suggests that meditation may reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and death in those with Coronary Heart Disease. It may also increase certain types of creativity and increase one’s ability to multitask.
Studies have shown that years of consistent meditation can physically alter the structure of the brain! Among these structural changes are:
- An increase in folds in the outer layer of the brain, which may increase the brain’s ability to process information
- A slowing, halting or even reversing of aging in the brain
- Decreased size of the Amygdala, an area of the brain involved in processing fear and emotions
- Activation of certain areas of the brain involved in pain response
The list of benefits of meditation in growing everyday as more and more research is being conducted on the mind and body practice. Setting aside time to meditate everyday can be so beneficial to your entire self on a physical, spiritual and mental level. So give it a shot!
What has your experience with meditation been like? Feel free to comment below and tell me some of the benefits you’ve experienced on a personal level! And also, be sure to let me know if you’d like to see more posts about meditation.