Yesterday I did something that I have been afraid to do for a while, I posted my very first youtube video! I have been putting it off for two reasons, 1.) because I was afraid of the feedback and 2.) I feel like I am not very good at presentation nor speeches. However, after a few months of my dear husband persuading me, I finally put my fears behind me and made one!
I am not going to lie, making a video took longer than I expected. I had about 15-20 mess ups and start overs, my camera focused on the wrong thing the whole time and I pronounced a few words wrong. But you know what?? Practice is what makes perfect, right? I just need to continue making videos and hope to get better.
Speaking of practice how is your meditation practice going? Are you getting your daily 20 minutes to an hour in? Whether your answer be yay or nay, I decided to post an article about the empirical benefits of meditation, just to motivate and expand your knowledge a bit!
Hundreds of scientific studies have been conducted on the benefits of the Transcendental Meditation program at more than 200 independent universities and research institutions worldwide over the past 40 years. The National Institutes of Health have awarded over $26 million to research the effectiveness of TM for reducing stress and stress-related illness with a focus on cardiovascular disease. Findings have been published in leading, peer-reviewed scientific journals, including The American Journal of Cardiology and the American Heart Association’s Hypertension and Stroke.
Lets start off with your overall health shall we? A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension in 2011, showed a 28% decrease in physician fees of patients who averaged about five years of meditation practice. Why would they notice a decrease in physician fees? Well because they have less of a need to visit the doctor of course! There have been copious studies showing that practicing mindfulness (meditation) reduces stress, all together well-being, and can even change your brain.
Meditation Reduces Stress
The studies mentioned above were all consistent with their findings; that meditation increased positive energy and significantly decreases anxiety, depression and negative energy. According to the Mayo Clinic Staff, meditation is known to clear the “overload” of build up that every day stress factors in by helping you manage your stress and acquiring a new perspective on situations that may be considered stressful.
Meditation is also known to increase your self-awareness, which in turn helps you look at the bigger picture in all situations instead of just you being the victim (something I believe our culture has a problem with) and really being able to assess what’s going on and your place in it. Meditation improves empathy, compassion and even helps to produce helpfulness in an individual.
There is a good amount of studies regarding mindfulness and relationships. With mindfulness proving to improve one’s ability to handle stress and self awareness. one can only assume that mindfulness can also help with communicating emotions more efficiently. Relationships need communication and positivity to strive and with meditation, that is exactly what you get!
Meditation improves Sleep
Did you know that Mindfulness practice can help decrease the time it takes to fall asleep and even improve your sleep quality? A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, found that there was significant improvement with sleep disturbances and sleep quality with the Mindfulness Awareness Practice group (Meditation) than with the Sleep Hygiene Education group. The secondary health outcomes of insomnia, depression and fatigue were also shown to significantly improve in the MAPs group vs the SHE group, Mindfulness is also equivalent to taking the maximum dose (3 mg) of Lunesta (eszopiclone) according to a study published by the University of Minnesota.
Meditation improves your Brain
A study that appeared in the Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital were the first to report that meditation, over time, was able to change the brain’s grey matter!! Wow that is amazing isn’t it? The 8-week study concluded that daily meditation changes the brain regions correlating to memory, empathy, stress and sense of self.
“Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day,” says Sara Lazar, PhD, of the MGH Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program, the study’s senior author. “This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing.”
Meditation improves your memory (hippocampus), focus & attention (increasing cortical thickness), cognitive function, and thought (frontal areas), as well as activating the brain’s region corresponding to adaptive responses in stressful or negative circumstances. Mindfulness has also been known to help with intuition and the middle prefrontal lobe functioning area. Mindfulness was concluded to bring positive psychological effects, such as psychological well-being, reduced psychological symptoms, improved behavioral regulation as well as emotional reactivity.
Meditation and your Health
Are you getting tired of these studies yet? Well yet another study concluded an improvement to one’s well-being with mindfulness practice (Carmody & Baer, 2008), An increase in immune function, decrease in pain and inflammation have also been the result of many studies. A study conducted at the University of Kentucky found that meditation can reduce systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure. In a 5 year randomized controlled study using patients with coronary heart disease, A Journal of the American Heart Association published its findings of a 48% reduction in heart attack, stroke and even death in subjects participating in the Transcendental Meditation group compared to the controlled group. There was also a 24% lower risk for cardiovascular mortality, revascularizations, and cardiovascular hospitalizations; blood pressure; psychosocial stress factors; and even lifestyle behaviors. Transcendental Meditation is the only meditation practice that has been shown to lower blood pressure and is recommended to be considered in clinical practice for prevention and treatment of hypertension. And in my last study for today’s post, meditation, yoga and even just deep breathing helps to hinder the genes that activate inflammatory response & pathways linked to cancer! Yes, meditation can help with much more but I will be saving the rest of it’s benefits for another time, hopefully this was enough to get you to start your meditation practice again or at least go on daily walks without your iPod and just listen to nature while you practice stilling your mind!
Relax & just breathe…..
❤ ॐ❤ ॐ❤ ॐ❤
Question of the Day:
What is your way of meditating? Do you have an alter, a favorite spot outside?
❤ ॐ❤ ॐ❤ ॐ❤
Be sure to come back on our next Meditation Monday for more posts related to yoga & meditation. Or you could always subscribe to get get each post in your inbox! If you have any comments or questions on what we discussed today, please feel free to comment and share your knowledge. I want my readers to get as much information as they can. Thank you for taking the time to read today’s post & in return know that you are on a path towards enlightenment ❤ ॐ❤!
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