By Doctor Paul Calladine (Chiro)
Our top 5 benefits of daily meditation
Meditation is a great way to calm an active mind and to provide balance and clarity to one's life. Meditation refers to the practice and technique that promotes relaxation by focusing on breathe, concentration and internal energy. Many people experience a sense of wellness and feel 'at peace' through meditation.
Meditation can be used to clear the mind and ease many health concerns such as anxiety, stress, depression and high blood pressure.
Throughout history, people have reached out to spiritual leaders or gurus in order to achieve balance and internal peace; both within themselves and more outwardly to the world.
You can meditate in many different ways. From sound based meditation and 'mindfulness-based stress reduction' programs to zen and yoga. Even just sitting down quietly after a long day at work, shutting your eyes and breathing can have enormous benefit. What links all these variations together are their common benefits. Here are 5 of those benefits now.
Also, at the end of this article I link to a guided 24 minute meditation that you can do right now. This meditation is perfect for easing anxiety, worry and urgency. Try it now and let me know what you think.
1) Meditation reduces stress levels
Meditation helps to calm the mind and to block out stressful thoughts. By concentrating your thoughts solely on your breathe and the moment at hand, your mind starts to self-regulate in some way. It takes a degree of concentration to keep unwanted thoughts at bay. Over time, as your practice develops, the energy you put into concentration gives way to mindfulness. This allows you to take charge of your thoughts and to ultimately reduce stress.
2) Meditation treats social anxiety
Social anxiety refers to the fear of social interaction with other people, in particular self-
Several studies detail this concept including Goldin and Gross 2010. Their research, coming from the Department of Psychology (Stanford University), shows how mindfulness programs are effective in altering emotional responses by modifying cognitive-affective processes. Simply put, meditation helps relieve anxiety and depression symptoms in sufferers.
When you consider the increasing dependence on and use of anti-anxiety medications in modern society, it's hardly surprising that meditation - and other more natural, holistic therapies - are increasing in popularity.
3) Meditation makes you happier
Recent research (Lutz et al. 2004) shows how your brain changes and responds to meditation - in a good way. The left prefrontal cortext, the region of the brain responsible for positive emotions, increases in activity during a meditation session.
Why is this important? Research can now demonstrate a link between happiness and meditation in a way that induces short-term and long-term neural changes. Just as working out in the gym grows stronger muscles, it seems that certain brain-training activities including meditation 'grow' and strengthen certain regions of the brain.
4) Meditation improves your breathing
Meditation improves your breathing in a number of ways.
- You limit your thoughts to solely focus on your breath
- You focus on breathing as an 'object of concentration'
- It's easier to take deeper breathes that fill your lung capacity and increase oxygen to your body
- The more you meditate the better your breathing becomes - you train yourself to breathe deeper
When you first start meditation it's easy for your mind to wander off. The discipline of breathing and meditation keeps your thoughts focused and grounded in the present. In time, as concentration gives way to mindfulness, your breathing will be longer, deeper and more relaxed.
5) Meditation boosts your mood
Meditation increases serotonin levels in the body. Serotonin in one of many neurotransmitters responsible for our emotions, including happiness. A consistent meditative practice decreases stress, increases well being and boosts mood. If you've meditated before you'll know that feeling of being 'blissed-out'. If you haven't meditated before, what are you waiting for?
Meditate Now: 24 minute guided meditation to ease anxiety, worry and urgency
Are you feeling stressed out?
If you like this article, please share this page with your friends and family. Better still, meet up with a couple of friends and share the experience of meditation together using the above guide to help you. Also, check out this great infographic covering some more of the benefits of meditation!
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About Dr Paul Calladine B.Sc.(Biol.), B.Sc.(Anat.), M.Chiro. (Gonstead Diplomate) and Lyons Road Family Chiropractic.
Lyons Road Family Chiro and Dr Paul (Chiro) have been serving the health care needs of Sydney's Inner West and Drummoyne communities for over 26 years. Paul is originally from Canada and has obtained high levels of tertiary qualifications from both Canada and Australia. Paul is a wealth of information on all things natural, on fitness, long term health, nutrition and of course, chiropractic.