The Unexpected Benefits of Meditation
What if you could improve your brain function, cut stress, get a better night’s sleep, build up a strong immune system, improve your metabolism and add more years to you life? If there was one way to do all of these things, would you do it? There’s no magic pill, no free-trial, no special diet. It’s simply meditation.
History of Meditation
The exact date when meditation was first practiced is unknown; however, according to The Chopra Center, the earliest documented records citing meditation practice are dated 1500 BCE. It’s likely that these early teachings stemmed from the Vedas in ancient India. Between 600 and 500 BCE, meditation expanded to both Buddhist India and Taoist China. Japanese Buddhism began to evolve in the eighth century, after the first meditation hall opened in Japan in 653 CE. In the 18th century, teachings expanded to the West, and meditation began to grow widely popular in Western culture throughout the 20th century. Today, it’s easier to locate meditation groups, instructors and classes about meditation teachings. A new body of research has began to form around meditation, and it continues to grow.
Meditation and Immunity
According to a study published in the journal of Psychosomatic Medicine, people who meditate have higher levels of antibodies (a blood protein that protects against viruses and bacteria), than those who do not. The study took place over the course of eight weeks, and the study participants practiced mindful meditation on a weekly basis.
Meditation and Stress
The Mayo Clinic recommends meditation as a way to combat stress, citing that meditation reduces negative emotions and gives practitioners a new perspective on stressful situations. The health experts suggest practicing mindful meditation or yoga to cut stress. Before practicing, participants should make sure they are free of all distractions, including notifications from cellphones. The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 offers a nifty feature called “Block Mode” that allows users to experience a moment of zen.
Meditation and Anti-Aging
One way to reduce aging is to reduce stress; and we’ve established that meditation is a great way to combat stress. Additionally, the EOC Institute notes that meditation increases melatonin (a highly beneficial hormone that can reduce signs of aging). Melatonin also leads to better sleep, more energy and possibly stopping the advancing effects of some cancers.
Meditation and Brain Function
An entry from the journal of Psychiatry Research cites that just 30 minutes of meditation for eight weeks can change the physical makeup of the brain for the better. Most changes were present in the vital gray matter areas, impacting emotions, learning ability, memory and perspective.
Meditation and Fertility
The Infertility Awareness Association of Canada links meditation and fertility. It explains that women who practice meditation, which turns off stress hormones and encourages relaxation, may increases their chances of conception.
Meditation and Happiness
According to the experts from Action for Happiness, practicing meditation allows people to get in touch with their emotions and increases how optimistic and happy they feel. Meditation also allows people to accept who they are, developing a strong sense of self and increasing their sense of fulfillment.