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What are the Benefits of Meditation?

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Improve Your Health Through Meditation!

We have all heard the adage mind over matter. This phrase can be interpreted in various ways and explored through the lenses of many different fields. However, its essence lies in the idea of finding power within our own minds to shape our existence. There is much to be said about the power of the mind, and what can be accomplished by focusing our concentration to achieve a goal. The focus of this article is to explore the ways in which our minds can have a profound effect on our health/physiological function by inducing a mode of consciousness through the practice of meditation.

Benefits of Meditation:

Meditation has been practiced for centuries by many cultures and religions. It has been an integral part of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Judaism, among others. It has been a way of focusing the mind for various purposes, including religious and spiritual experiences, as well as way to control stress. In recent decades, science has cast its own light on the manifold benefits of meditation, and it has been incorporated into psychotherapeutic practices because it induces a state of relaxation and alleviates stress and anxiety.

Particularly, mindfulness meditation has been studied extensively and proven to bestow a score of physiological advantages.

It has been shown to:

  • Reduce anxiety
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Decrease heart rate
  • Improve cognitive performance
  • Help control chronic pain
  • Relieve symptoms of depression
  • Stimulate the immune system

  • Research published in the American Journal of Psychiatry has demonstrated that mindfulness meditation can have a profound effect in relieving and maintaining reduced symptoms of anxiety, panic, and depression. It has been used to treat patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, as well as Depressive Disorders.
    (The American Journal of Psychiatry. Volume 149 Issue 7, July 1992, pp. 936-943).

    In addition, an experiment conducted on 25 individuals, published in the Psychosomatic Medicine Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine, found that a meditation program significantly increased influenza antibodies, our body’s defense against the flu virus. This suggested that meditation can bolster our immune system.
    (Psychosomatic Medicine: July 2003-Volume 65- Issue4 - p564-570)

    Furthermore, research by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D showed that mediation can even alter our sensory pathways of pain perception. His findings upheld that meditation can be used as self-regulating therapy to treat chronic pain.
    (Jon Kabat-Zinn. General Hospital Psyciatry. Volume 4, Issue 1, April 1982, Pages 33-47)

    Moreover, in his book, Wherever You Go There You Are, Jon Kabat-Zinn discusses how we can apply practices from the ancient Buddhist tradition in our everyday lives, even within a Western tradition. He suggests that mindfulness can “wake us from [the] sleep of automaticity and unconsciousness, thereby making it possible for us to live our lives with access to the full spectrum of our conscious and unconscious possibilities…to live lives of greater satisfaction, harmony and wisdom.

    Getting into Meditation

    To reap the benefits of meditation it is necessary to be consistent. It only takes a few minutes each day. It is a relatively simple and enjoyable practice. Pick a time of day that is convenient for you, a quiet and soothing setting, and get started. There is plenty of help and information online to guide you through the process. It only takes a little bit of effort and the rewards are plenty.