The benefits of meditation are so powerful, it’s truly amazing. No longer considered woo woo, meditation is now the go to remedy for nearly every 21st century ailment. From stress to depression, meditation is a proven method to dramatically increase your sense of well being and physical wellness.
The practice of meditation dates back to as early as 5000 BC, but it didn’t reach the West until the 20th century. Studied in the 1960’s the benefits of meditation came to the attention of the Harvard Medical School’s Dr. Richard Benson. He discovered the biological effects of meditation and published The Relaxation Response.
What really popularized meditation for us baby boomers was its discovery by The Beatles. In the 70’s they famously traveled to India to study meditation as a way of coping with their incredible fame. Soon other celebrities and athletes adopted the “drugless high” that meditation offered.
In the 90’s Deepak Chopra brought meditation to the Oprah show and the rest is history.
The Powerful Benefits of Meditation
1.RELIEVES STRESS + ANXIETY
By controlling stress, meditation also relieves the by products of stress; such as panic attacks, social anxiety and obsessive compulsive behavior. Meditation helps regulate anxiety by strengthening the ability to regulate emotions.
2. IMPROVES SLEEP
According to the Harvard Medical School, meditation increases our ability to induce the relaxation response. Once the relaxation response is mastered during daytime meditation, the same response can be used to fall asleep at night. Meditation naturally boosts melatonin levels, a precursor to restful sleep.
3. NATURAL PAIN RELIEF
Meditation rewires our brain circuitry effectively unprogramming our habitual pain responses. Pain also loses some of it’s emotional hold when meditation is practiced. It chemically unleashes our bodies powerful natural pain killers. Meditation can also help to reduce cortisol levels which is our body’s inflammatory response to pain and stress.
4. INCREASES LIBIDO
By reducing the cortisol triggered by our fight or flight response, meditation turns on the relaxation response. Meditation also boosts sex hormones such as DHEA, testosterone and estrogen which are gradually lost through age and stress.
5. BOOSTS ENERGY
By supporting your natural growth hormones and reducing stress, meditation paves the way for your energy levels to return to normal. Better than supplementation with synthetic DHEA/growth hormone, meditation allows your body to boost these energy producing hormones naturally.
6. BETTER EMOTIONAL HEALTH
Reducing depression is another benefit of practicing meditation leading to improved mood and emotional health. By increasing optimism and positivity, meditation acts as a buffer to stressful thoughts and feelings.
7. IMPROVES DIGESTION
Stress and anxiety are the enemies of good digestive health. A calmer, more positive attitude helps us practice better food choices and reduces the effects of stress on our digestion. Deep breathing through meditation actively supports the digestive process.
8. SUPPORTS MEMORY
Meditating stimulates the brain lobes responsible for both long and short term memory leading to better memory recall for seniors. It also supports the feel good part of the brain leading to less depression. Increasing mental focus and sharpness is also a benefit.
9. YOUNGER LOOKING SKIN
There’s a reason celebrities practice meditation. A 2013 UCLA study proved younger looking skin is a also a proven by product of meditating. Meditation may turn off an age accelerating gene.
Are you ready to start meditating? Start with these apps or find an online or local group to support your new healthy habit!