When we think of our health, we often think of our bodies. However, our mental health is important as well. Thankfully mediation can help with both.
What is Mediation
Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years by various cultures and religions. Originally, it was meant to help deepen the understanding of the mystical and spiritual forces of life. While this is still true today, modern day science has also caught on to the numerous health benefits of meditating. Now, it has become a mainstream form of holistic health.
How Mediation Can Help Us
With science now looking into the benefits of mediation, many studies and research has come out showing the wide list of reasons why one should meditate.
Many studies have shown how meditating can help with reducing stress. It is actually one of the most common benefits. One study showed that nearly 1,300 adults experienced reduced stress when meditating. This is because meditation improves the symptoms that cause stress, which are increased levels of cortisol. High levels of stress can lead to health issues such as insomnia, increased blood pressure, and even heart disease.
-Helps with Anxiety
Stress and anxiety go hand in hand. For example, an eight-week study of mindfulness mediation helped participants reduce their anxiety by lowering their cortisol levels. Anxiety can come in many forms: PTSD, phobias, paranoid thoughts, social anxiety, Obsessive-compulsive behaviors, and panic attacks. Mediation has been shown to help with all of these anxiety disorders.
-Enhances Self Awareness
While the point of many types of mediation is to still the mind and let our thoughts come and go, we can achieve great levels of self-reflection and self-awareness when we meditate. That is because when we still the mental monkey chatter of our egos and minds, we can dive deeper into questioning ourselves or having deep spiritual realizations.
-Longer Attention Spans
One type of meditation, focused-attention meditation, is an exercise that strengthens our ability to focus. One study showed that workers who regularly practiced mindfulness mediation stayed focused longer on a task than before.
One of the main reasons many people experience insomnia is due to the racing thoughts that keep them up at night. Through meditation, research has found that people who meditate fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer compared to those who do not.
-Helps Control Pain
Our threshold for pain is connected to our state of mind. Through breath work techniques, we can control this tolerance level. Studies have shown how mediating can reduced sensations of pain, such as aches or spasms. This also is true for other things that shock the nervous system, such as stubbing our toes or jumping into ice cold water.
– Reduces Negative Emotions
When we meditate, we are practicing being in the conscious and present moment. This means stilling the mind. The mind is a powerful generator of thoughts. As many know, our thoughts become our reality. Often times, we are depressed, have low self-esteem, or get anxious due to the thoughts in our head. By mediating, we are quieting these negative thoughts. In return, we feel better and our mental and emotional health improves.
-Become more Patience
One personal quality and trait that mediation helps instill is patience. We can get impatient when are brains are telling us of the next thing to do. When we are anticipating and planning our next moment instead of being present, and we start to become dissatisfied with the current situation. Mediation helps us to appreciate and slow down our minds.
-Live in the Present
Another benefit of this mindfulness is that when we are in the present moment through mediation, we become more present in our daily lives as well. There is a saying that living in the future is anxiety and living in the past in depression. Well living in the now is peace.
Types of Meditation
One meditation does not fit all. There are many forms of mediation. Meditation is an umbrella term for many ways to relax a state of being. You can make anything into a meditative practice, from tea pouring to even washing the dishes. However, there are certain forms of mediation that are popular. Here are just a few.
This type of mediation uses visualization and guided imagery such as walking on a road or path to self-discovery, or picturing yourself in a serene location in nature to help you calm and relax your body and mind. In this type, it is good to use as many sense as possible. What does it smell like? What can you taste? This helps in fully embodying your meditation.
This type of mediation is a focus-based mediation. You silently repeat a calming word, thought, or phrase to prevent distracting thoughts. It is also used in setting intentions. The mala, a Buddhist necklace containing 108 beads, is used in mantra meditations through repeating a saying on each of the 108 beads.
The focus of this mediation is broadening one’s consciousness through being aware of your surroundings, thoughts, emotions and overall experience throughout the mediation. Focusing the attention on the breath is a popular way to achieve this mediation.
Today, activities such as Tai Chi, Qi Gong, and Yoga are known as exercises. They are this, for our bodies and our minds. These are called Moving Meditations. This is where breath work through movement helps to bring one into a meditative state.
What makes mediation so great, aside from all of these health benefits, is that it can be done anywhere. Ideally having a quiet space in your home, such as a corner in the bedroom, and having a comfortable position helps one to mediate routinely. However, you can easily practice meditation on a public bus or on a lunch break. Just ten minutes can bring immense improvements in your life.
Experiment to see which mediation is best for you and how your well-being improves because of it.
#PTSD #meditation #mindfulness
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