Meditation is a mysterious concept to many, often associated with New Age and eastern religions. Perhaps these cultures utilize mediation more than others, but meditation itself is not a mystical process that requires changing your core beliefs. The benefits of meditation are too great to avoid it because of preconceived notions.
Meditation is a process of quieting your mind and blocking out external distractions. There are many techniques that can be used to achieve this state of peacefulness. Some of these techniques involve focusing on your breathing, progressive muscle relaxation or visualizing pleasant scenes. Adequate mental downtime is crucial to maintaining a sense of well-being. Mediation is a coping mechanism that many people use to achieve this downtime. Setting aside a specific amount of time each day to focus is extremely beneficial in numerous ways.
More important are the numerous benefits of meditation. There have been many studies documenting both psychological and physiological benefits of meditation. Listed below are just a few of the known benefits of meditation:
|Psychological benefits of meditation||Physical benefits of meditation|
|Decreased tension||Lower risk of cardiovascular disease|
|Decreased anxiety and depression||Improved oxygenation (from improved breathing)|
|Improved concentration||Decreased muscle tension|
|Improved control over racing thoughts (mental clutter)||Lowered blood pressure|
|Better mental control over your thoughts (excellent for those who feel their thoughts are scattered)||Decreased frequency and intensity of migraines and other headaches|
|Improved memory retention||Enhanced immune systemIncreased energy|
|Decreased aggressionIncreased frustration tolerance||Decreased cholesterol|
|Decreased airway resistance in asthmatics|
Just think, you can reap these benefits naturally with a process that takes as little as 15 – 30 minutes a day.
J Beauchemin, TL Hutchinsand F Patterson. Mindfulness meditation may lessen anxiety, promote social skills, and improve academic performance among Aaolescents with learning disabilities. Complementary Health Practice Review, Vol. 13, No. 1, 34-45 (2008)
V. Barnes, HC. Davis, JB. Murzynowski, and FA. Treiber. Impact of meditation on resting and ambulatory blood pressure and heart rate in youth. Psychosom Med 2004 66: 909-914.
R.J. Davidson, et. al. Alterations in Brain and Immune Function Produced by Mindfulness Meditation. Psychosom Med 2003 65: 564-570.
O.R. Werner, R.K. Wallace, B. Charles, G. Janssen, T. Stryker, and R.A. Chalmers. Long-term endocrinologic changes in subjects practicing the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program. Psychosom Med 1986 48: 59-66.