Reducing stress levels and naturally detoxifying your system are only two ways that meditation can benefit your body. At any given time during the day, our thoughts bounce around as we consider the past and what could have happened or focus on the future and what we plan to do or what might be. How often do you sit in the “now” and apply some concentration to nothing other than that moment? We’re not trying to go too new-age on you but we would like to lay out how meditation can not only calm the mind and spirit but can also benefit your entire body.
Benefits of Meditation
When given the chance to slow down and relax, our adrenal glands reduce cortisol production. This stress hormone effects weight, insulin, bone, memory, and our immune systems negatively when it is unregulated. Spending time in a meditative state will help keep cortisol levels in check and studies have shown that our immune system can even be improved. One theory on the benefits of meditation to the immune system is that it helps to squash mental negativity that may dampen immune response while another theory is that it signals your body to step up antibody production. Whichever theory is true, research shows that people who meditate are better prepared to fight off infections and may even have better pain control when they are injured.
Our lungs, heart, and brain can also benefit from meditation. When we meditate regularly the brain waves responsible for relaxation (alpha and theta) are increased and more interestingly, some parts of the brain’s gray matter increased in participants who meditated daily for several months. While our brains are powering up, blood vessels and breathing are slowing as a result of meditation. As our hearts begin to beat more slowly, blood vessels relax and participants in meditation studies noted blood pressure dropping by up to four points as well as a lowered risk of heart disease.
Mood, stress, and relaxation go hand-in-hand but with a few mindful minutes each day you can reap the benefits of meditation. New to meditation? Find a quiet room, a comfortable place to sit, then follow these tips:
- Start slowly—the amount of time you spend meditating each day isn’t important. What is important is that you do it. Start with a few minutes and each week try adding an additional minute.
- Be consistent—some days you may not feel like sitting and meditating but consistency is key. If you struggle with sticking to something new, schedule your meditation at the same time each day to help solidify the practice.
- Go Easy—sit, relax, breathe, and focus on the now. Try not to bring high expectations for what you can expect from the time spent meditating. The point isn’t not to think but to be aware of your thoughts and learn to let them be.
- Get Some Assistance—try using essential oils like Frankincense to help you get ready to meditate.