Meditation is a large umbrella term that encompasses the practice of reaching maximum consciousness and concentration, to acknowledge the mind and, in a way, self-regulate it. It can involve a lot of techniques or practices to reach this heightened level of consciousness-including compassion, love, patience, and of course, mindfulness. Mindfulness is paying attention on purpose, in the present moment and without judgement.
The practice of Meditation dates back to the time of Buddha, in ancient India and is a precise technique for resting the mind and attaining a state of consciousness that is totally different from the normal waking state.
Why is Meditation Important to me?
Meditation is a means of calming oneself; letting go of your biases, and seeing things for what they are, openly and clearly. Meditation teaches you to explore your inner dimensions, to commit to yourself, to your path and to the goal of knowing yourself.
There are many forms of meditation techniques practiced all over the world; some integrated with yoga and modern science. Some of the most common forms of meditation include:
- Mindfulness Meditation
- Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction
- Primordial Sound Meditation
- Vipassana/ Insight Meditation
- Zen Meditation
- Transcendental Meditation
- Loving-Kindness Mediation
Among the countless benefits of meditation, some are as follows…
9 Reasons Why You Should Meditate More
- It makes your brain plastic: Sustained meditation leads to ‘neuroplasticity’ which is defined as the brain’s ability to change structurally and functionally. In as study, experienced meditators were able to control their thoughts and reactivity. Meditation gives you mental strength, resilience and emotional intelligence.
- Meditation increases the concentration of grey matter in the brain: Meditation can actually increase cortical thickness, which is associated with decision making, attention and memory. Using guided meditation and integration of mindfulness into everyday activities, increases the area of the brain involved in learning, regulating emotions, compassion, visuospatial processing and sense of self. This means their brains age at a slower rate decreasing the risk of mental illnesses.
- Meditation relieves stress and anxiety: Meditation reduces the grey matter density in areas of brain related with anxiety and stress; decreased levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
- Meditation increases the ability to keep focus in spite of distractions: Meditators show increased connectivity within the brain networks controlling attention, development of cognitive skills, such as maintaining attention and disengaging from distraction.
- Meditation helps manage ADHD: Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy demonstrated reduced hyperactivity and impulsiveness and increased “act-with-awareness” skill, contributing to an overall improvement in inattention symptoms.
- Helps regulate Blood Pressure: After three months of meditation-based relaxation program in patients whose blood pressure could not be controlled with medication, these patients showed a significant drop in blood pressure levels.
- Mindfulness practice helps prevent asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and reduces the risk of Heart Diseases and Stroke: All these changes are associated with lower psycho-social stress factors. Transcendental Meditation helps manage emotional eating which prevents obesity.
- Loving-kindness meditation improves empathy and positive relationships: The development of positive emotions through this kind of meditation, builds up a loving attitude towards oneself and others, including self-acceptance, feeling of competence about one’s life, social support, and includes environmental mastery, purpose in life and ego-resilience.
- Meditation decreases feelings of loneliness which in turn decreases the risk for morbidity, mortality and expression of pro-inflammatory genes. It lets our mind rest so we don’t fixate or drudge up the pain of the past to relive it over and over. It expands our awareness so we can see the bigger picture in life, this helps us put our problems into perspective. It makes life more rich and satisfying.
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Author Bio: Zyana Morris
Zyana Morris is a passionate health and lifestyle blogger who loves to write about prevailing trends. She is a featured author at various authoritative blogs in the health and lifestyle industry. You can find her using twitter @ZyanaMorris
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