For years meditation was seen as a left of mainstream practice reserved for New Age disciples, actors who are “spiritual”, self-help gurus, and hardcore yogis, but presently more people are becoming aware that meditation is for everyone. Just like yoga, which brings the body in alignment with the mind and helps to quite that incessant babbling of thoughts we have going daily that frequently get in the way of our true happiness, meditation cleans house. It’s like setting the reset button for a few minutes daily, that allows you to truly go with the flow, promotes inner peace, feelings of oneness with others, empathy, service, and even boosts creativity. The best part, is that many of the amazing benefits of meditation have been verified by research.
Every single time you to sit to practice, you are literally rewiring your brain. As a result of this you may find yourself extremely calm in usually stressful situations, generally happier, optimistic, and attracting people and things that help you achieve your dreams, effortlessly. There are a bunch of meditation naysayers out there who feel like it’s quackery, or object to meditation because they are afraid it contradicts with their religion. This is not the case. Meditation and mindfulness practices have been practiced and incorporated by every major religion.
In the Bible it says, “Be still and know that I am God.” My favorite Deepak Chopra quote is: “Prayer is talking to God. Meditation is listening.” Indeed the silence speaks volumes. Creativity can increase and intuition begins to guide daily decisions more strongly. The only way for you to feel the shift in yourself is to sit down and meditate and stick with it consistently. It does not take weeks to start to feel a shift. Each day, you will begin to notice little things. Below are seven of many reasons why sitting down in silence daily is good for you.
Stay in the Stress-Free Zone
The journal of health psychology published research that not only does meditation make you feel less stressed, it actually reduces the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. The other amazing thing to note, is that meditation can reduce physical stress as well as mental. In a study conducted on athletes, it was found that meditation can help improve pain tolerance during the process of rehabilitation.
Rewire Bad Habits.
One of the first things you may notice after regular meditation practice is that it starts to shift your emotional responses to situations that were previously aggravating. Going within helps us to require bad habits as well as observe our actions and reactions in a way we may have never done before and make conscious adjustments. Why is this? Well researchers have found that regular meditation changes our brain. Long-term meditators were found to have an increased amount of gray matter in the insula and sensory regions, the auditory and sensory cortex and more gray matter in the frontal cortex, which is associated with working memory and executive decision making. They also found that the amygdala which triggers our fight or flight response in reaction to stress was smaller in those who practiced mindfulness and that brain changes begin to happen within just eight weeks of practice.
Boosts Your Mental Performance
Research conducted at the University of California, Santa Barbara found that college students trained in mindfulness performed better on verbal reasoning sections on the GRE and also had improvements in retention of material. The outcome of the study suggested that mindfulness can be a tool used to improve overall cognitive functioning.
Can Protect Against Mental Illness
Mental illness and emotional wellness are two issues that are usually highly medicated when you visit a doctor to address them. Well, according to researchers from the University of Oregon, mediation techniques in the form of integrative body and mind training can result in brain changes which protect against mental illness. Due to meditation practice protective tissue increases as well as signaling connections in the brain. Another study conducted on nursing students, also found that meditation was even more effective for depression recovery than exercise.
Sleep Like a Baby
A University of Utah study found that mindfulness training helps people sleep better at night. Have you ever experienced an inability to sleep because of the “monkey mind” that can’t stop making to-do lists and generally stressing about whatever happened that day? Well meditation quiets the busy thoughts long enough for you to get adequate rest and wake up feeling refreshed. Other studies have shown improvements with patients suffering from insomnia after undergoing mindfulness training and regular meditation practice.
Improves Your Mood
In general meditation helps to balance out emotions and moods, and has been shown in numerous studies to reduce the risk of depression. Research has show meditation to help reduce psychological distress and improve brain functioning.
Boosts Your Immunity
By now you should know that optimal health has to do with emotional, physical, and mental wellness. Stress is major life factor that can accelerate the development of disease. Just paying attention to your diet alone may still leave you at risk for major terminal diseases if you do not manage your emotions and stress in a healthy way. Meditation and mindfulness practices calm you down and reduces your stress levels, so that you can avoid toxic emotions that may cause disease later on.
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