10 Reasons Why We Should All Meditate
Meditation is something that can benefit all of us, including young children. See Meditation Benefits For Children and How To Teach Them To Meditate.
It is something that many people have dabbled in but haven’t fully committed to 100%. Like anything you want to become skilled at, you need to practice meditation on a regular basis. In this article 10 Reasons Why We Should All Meditate – Meditation Health Benefits you will learn about all the wonderful attributes meditation has to offer.
When it comes to meditation, it really is worth committing, as the health benefits for both your mind and your body have been proven to be outstanding.
I have invited Bill Patterson a high respected teacher to write this article. Bill has over 30 years of practicing and over 20 years of teaching meditation and is a wonderful and inspirational teacher, with a special interest in pain management through meditation.
The Amazing Health Benefits of Meditation
by Bill Patterson of Mind Body Solutions .Clinical hypnotherapist & psychotherapist
Meditation has become ubiquitous in the conversation about health and general well being. Having slowly learnt and adopted meditation into my life, over 3 decades, it still seems fresh and vital.
Teaching various approaches to people from all walks of life, over the last 20 years in particular, with the intention of helping others adopt a regular practice has been immensely rewarding.
What Is Meditation?
You might ask what meditation really is? Meditation is a technique designed to relax the body quickly and calm the mind. This restores to the body to a state of balance, and the resulting mental clarity prepares us for whatever we plan to do next. It not complicated to understand or do.
- Children get it quite easily.
- It actually works because it simplifies our mental activity.
- It requires no special props or beliefs.
- It can be done for a minute or for an hour, at any time we are alone.
- Most people get good results from their very first attempt, although improvement only comes with practice.
Meditation is based on three abilities that we all possess, namely relaxation, attention and self-awareness.
We can all relax, though usually not as well as we would like.
We can all focus or pay attention to some degree, or we couldn’t achieve anything at all. And we all have some ability to observe and therefore influence our thoughts and emotions. Meditation takes these three natural talents and turns them into conscious skills.
The Basic Process Of Meditation
Another way to understand meditation is to examine what people actually do. Despite the diversity of styles, most regular meditators do much the same thing. They typically do a “sitting” of between 10 and 20 minutes. During that time, their bodies relax (through inactivity, if nothing else); they calm their minds by focusing on an “object” of meditation (the breath, the body, a candle flame or a mantra etc); and gradually the usual thoughts and emotions become somewhat detached. They usually guide themselves with instructions such as: “Focus on the breath and let thoughts pass by.” Although they still get distracted periodically, they nonetheless feel more relaxed and clear afterwards.
So how does sitting down doing virtually nothing produce such good results? What makes it any better than relaxation or sleep, for example? Meditation is not quite the same as relaxation. When we relax, our minds wander and get sleepy. When we meditate, our bodies are equally relaxed, but our minds are more focused and in control.
How Long Does It Take To Learn To Meditate?
If you asked how long does it take to learn to meditate the answer varies from one individual to another. Some feel a sense of affinity to the practice almost immediately and others may take considerably longer. The key to finding the benefits is to develop a regular practice so it becomes a ritual, embedded in the habit and routine of daily life. Some have stated they shape their life around a daily practice rather than trying to fit meditation into a busy day.
How Meditation Helps Us Stay Healthier
The changes from this passive contemplative practice are truly remarkable and are backed by strong evidence based studies.
Here are some medical findings from the current research, pioneered by Dr Herbert Benson* and outlined by Dr Dharma Singh Khalsa in a recently published book, “Meditation is Medicine”
- Meditation creates a unique hypo-metabolic state, in which the metabolism is in an even deeper state of rest than during sleep.
- During sleep, oxygen consumption drops by 8 percent, but during meditation, it drops by 10 to 20 percent.
- Meditation is the only activity that reduces blood lactate, a marker of stress and anxiety.
- The calming hormones melatonin and serotonin are increased by meditation, and the stress hormone cortisol is decreased.
- Meditation has a profound effect upon three key indicators of aging: hearing ability, blood pressure, and vision of close objects.
- Long-term meditators experience 80 percent less heart disease and 50 percent less cancer than non-meditators.
- Meditators secrete more of the youth-related hormone DHEA as they age than nonmeditators.
- Meditating forty-five-year-old males have an average of 23 percent more DHEA than nonmeditators, and meditating females have an average of 47 percent more. This helps decrease stress, heighten memory, preserve sexual function, and control weight.
- 75 percent of insomniacs were able to sleep normally when they meditated.
- 34 percent of people with chronic pain significantly reduced medication when they began meditating.
As the body of research on meditation has grown, it’s become evident that meditation confers not just strong psychological benefits but also profoundly important physiological benefits.
*Mind/Body Medical Institute Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School
Major study of brain anatomy of meditation practitioners
Studies on enhanced psychological function from meditation
Meditation benefits are sustainable over long periods of time
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