We all know that relaxation is good for us. For thousand of years Yogis have suggested – take a deep breath and relax and watch the tension melt from your muscles and all your niggling worries vanishes somehow
Meditation offers many benefits for your body, mind and spirit. The rest you gain in meditation is deeper than the deepest sleep. The deeper your rest is, the more dynamic your become.
Buddhists, yogis and ayurvedic doctors have said for centuries that meditation improves health and well-being. Now scientists are trying to prove the benefits of meditation.
Mediation has many benefits. Throughout our waking life our minds is occupied in a continuous internal dialogue in which the meaning and emotional association of one thought trigger the next. We hear a music and suddenly start thinking about the time we heard that song along with our sweetheart and later how that relationship ended.
If we’re still holding emotional pain over that relationship ending, those negative feelings may come up and then our mind may go around into anger, criticism, self-pity, or worries about the future. Through out the day our mind spins stories about our work, our colleagues, our friends, our finances, our spouse. Most of the time we are not even conscious of the internal soundtrack unspooling in our mind and yet it is the greatest source of stress in our lives.
Although the mind is capable of creating positive life-affirming stories, it has what neuroscientists refer to as a negativity bias, a tendency to pay more attention to negative experiences than to positive ones.
The negativity bias evolved as a survival instinct millions of years ago. Our ancestors use to focused much more attention on avoiding potential threats than on rewards. If they had stopped to enjoy a delicious meal or admire the wonderful sunset they would have used valuable attention resources, and be vulnerable to attack or become meal by a predator.
Our Ancestor use to response to danger with Fight or Flight. They have passed on their genes which paid a lot of attention to danger. Their legacy is a brain that is preapared to focus on negative experiences and has a tendency to get stuck in conditioned patterns of thinking, returning again and again to thoughts of anxiety, depression, and limitation. The mind by nature is negative and positivity has to be a forced learning
The Healing Benefits of Meditation
Meditation is one of the best tools we have to counter the brain’s negativity bias, release build up stress, promote positive experiences, and benefit from inner peace.
Researcheers established that having a regular meditation practice produces tangible benefits for mental and physical health.
There are many health benefits if habit of regular meditation is inculcated. Some are listed below:
• Lowers high blood pressure
• Lowered cholesterol levels Reduced production of “stress hormones,” including cortisol and adrenaline
• Lowers the levels of blood lactate, reducing anxiety attacks
• Decreases any tension-related pain, such as, tension headaches, ulcers, insomnia, muscle and joint problems
• Increases serotonin production that improves mood and behavior
• Improves the immune system
• More efficient oxygen use by the body
• Decreased anxiety, depression, and insomnia
• Increased production of the anti-aging hormone DHEA
• Increases the energy level, as you gain an inner source of energy
Benefits of mindfulness meditation
Meditation brings the brainwave pattern into an Alpha state that promotes healing. The mind becomes fresh, delicate and beautiful. With regular practice of meditation:
• Decreases Anxiety
• Improves Emotional stability
• Increases Creativity
• Increases Happiness
• Develops Intuition
• Increase clarity
• Gain peace of mind
• Increase Problems solving and handling
• Meditation sharpens the mind by gaining focus and expands through relaxation
• A sharp mind without expansion causes tension, anger and frustration
• An expanded consciousness without sharpness can lead to lack of action and progress
• The balance of a sharp mind and an expanded consciousness brings perfection
Meditation Reduces Stress and Burnout.
Meditation has two important benefits:
• It prevents stress from getting into the system
• It releases accumulated stress that is in the system
Scientific Research has described the negative effects of stress on the body. Linked to the release of the stress-hormones adrenalin and cortisol, stress raises the heart rate and blood pressure, may cause heart disease, stomach ulcers, cancer, insomania, chronic fatigue, depression, weakens immunity, lowers fertility and accelerate aging.
By contrast, the state of relaxation by Meditation is linked to higher levels of feel-good chemicals such as serotonin and to the growth hormone which repairs cells and tissue. Indeed, studies show that relaxation has virtually the opposite effect, lowering heart rate, boosting immunity and enabling the body to thrive.
In meditation, your body releases stress and reverses the effects of the flight-or-fight response – that ancient instinct we all have to either run from perceived danger or take it on in battle.
Intended as a short-term protection mechanism, fight or flight causes our muscles, preparing for danger, contract and tighten, body to speed up our heart rate, increase our blood sugar, suppress our immune system, reduce insulin production, pump out stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, and reduce the blood supply to our digestive organs.
All of these reactions happen so that our body can focus on either running away as fast as it can – or staying to fight. Although only very few of you reading this face daily threats to their bodily existence, many live in a prolonged state of fight or flight, generating stress in response to bad traffic, job stress, relationship at home or a disagreement etc.
In state of deep relaxation tension is released from the body on a physical level and your mind completely switches off.
There are many studies showing the power of meditation to relieve stress and promote inner calm. Study published in the Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Journal – in 2011 found that full-time workers who spent a few hours each week practicing meditation reported a significant decrease in job stress, anxiety, and depressed mood.
Meditation Enhances Your Concentration, Memory and Ability to learn.
Researchers have found, meditation can help you tap into your brain’s deepest potential to focus, learn and adapt.
Brain has a quality known as plasticity, enabling it to grow new neurons and transform throughout our lives. This is in contrast to earlier believes of scientists that beyond a certain age, the brain couldn’t change. Meditation is a powerful tool for awakening new neural connections and even transforming regions of the brain.
A recent study led by Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital found that after only eight weeks of meditation, participants experienced beneficial growth in the brain areas associated with memory, learning, empathy, self-awareness, and stress regulation (the insula, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex). In addition, the meditators reported decreased feelings of anxiety and greater feelings of calm. This study adds to the expanding body of research about the brain’s amazing plasticity and ability to change habitual stress patterns.
Many other studies provide evidence for the value of meditation in improving the ability to stay focused in world filled with increasing distractions.
Meditation Helps You Create More Harmonious, Loving Relationships.
Meditators feel level-headedness and compassion, allowing them to be in be conscious and present with a loved one, client or colleague and listen to what they are saying and what they may need.
As you meditate on a regular basis, you develop what is known as “witnessing awareness” – the ability to calmly and objectively observe a situation, notice when you are being triggered, and consciously choose how you want to respond instead of knee jerk reaction or say something unthinking. The ability to be present and aware is extremely valuable in every relationship.
Meditation Improves Your Creativity and Problem-Solving Skills.
Meditation allows the conscious mind to settle deeply in the Self, giving it rest. When the mind settles down, it lets go of all tension, making one healthy and focused.
On an average we have an estimated 60,000 to 70,000 thoughts a day – regrettably most of them are the same thoughts we had yesterday, last week, and last year. The mind tends to get trapped in repetitive thought loops that constrict the possibility for new ideas and inspiration.
Meditation is a powerful practice for going beyond habitual, conditioned thought patterns into a state of expanded consciousness. We connect to infinite possibilities or pure potentiality, and we open to new insights, intuition, and ideas.
The world’s great innovators, athletes, and other high achievers have described this state as “being in the flow,” being in the right place at the right time. Time seems to stand still and life become effortless, everything you need comes naturally to you. You do less and accomplish more. You flow in the present and are not burdened by the past or worried about the future.
This higher state of consciousness is the birthplace of all creativity. The mind is in an open, receptive state and is able to receive flashes of insight and fresh perspectives
Meditation Decreases Depression, Anxiety, and Insomnia.
The emotional effects of sitting in silence and going within are profound. The deep state of rest produced by meditation triggers the brain to release neurotransmitters, including dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins. Each of these naturally occurring brain chemicals are responsible and linked to different aspects of happiness:
Dopamine plays a key role in the brain’s ability to experience pleasure, feel rewarded, and maintain focus.
Oxytocin (the same chemical whose levels rise during sexual arousal and breastfeeding), is a pleasure hormone. It creates feelings of calm, contentment, and security, while reducing fear and anxiety.
Serotonin has a calming effect. It eases tension and helps us feel less stressed and more relaxed and focused..
Endorphins are most commonly known as the chemicals that create the exhilaration commonly labeled “the runner’s high”.
These neurotransmitters play many roles related to wellbeing, including decreasing feelings of pain and reducing the side effects of stress. If these neurotransmitter are low they have been linked to migraines, anxiety, bipolar disorder, apathy, feelings of worthlessness, fatigue, and insomnia.
Meditation results in the simultaneous release of these neurotransmitters, something that no single drug can do – and all without side effects.
A growing body of medical research is providing scientific evidence that lessen depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mood-related disorders.
In Meditation the silence speaks: The Birthplace of Happiness and creativity.
With meditation you get the benefit of calmness, peace of mind, bliss, positive relationships and fulfillment in your daily life.
When you meditate, you go beyond the mind’s noisy chatter into an entirely different place: the silence of a mind that is not imprisoned by the past or the future.
Silence is the birthplace of happiness. Silence is where we get our bursts of inspiration, our tender feelings of compassion and empathy, and our sense of love.
When you meditate regularly, all of your thoughts, actions, and reactions are infuse with a little more love and consciousness. The result is a deeper appreciation and a profound awareness of the divine quality of existence.
Its worth highlighting that the purpose of meditation is not to achieve benefits. To put it as an Eastern philosopher might say, the goal of meditation is no goal. It is simply to be present.