Why You Should Consider Meditation

Posted: April 5, 2019 at 11:25 am


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The study and practice of meditation is on the rise, where the physical and psychological benefits are applicable to just about anybody.

Meditation and mindfulness go hand in hand to resolve mind body complications and symptoms during your sleeping life and your waking life. But first off, it is important to know the distinction between mindfulness and meditation, and how the two overlap in improving overall mind and body wellbeing within an individual.

What is mindfulness versus meditation?

Mindfulness is an active, daily process of focusing on the present moment and existing within it. You are present by being fully aware of your physical body as well as any thoughts and feelings that happen inside your mind and body.

Mindfulness is the ability to identify each thought as it passes through your mind, where you objectively identify them without judging or criticizing each thought. Mindfulness can be achieved through both mental and physical exercises and routines that strive to improve your mind-body relationship.

Mindfulness and meditation have a mirror-like relationship with each other: mindfulness supports and enhances meditation, and meditation supports and broadens mindfulness. Mindfulness is a practice you can use continually through the day, whereas meditation is practiced in specific time intervals.

With mindfulness, the focus is on awareness, whereas with meditation, the goal is to clear your mind of everything. The two go hand in hand however, especially when it comes to helping you sleep. Sleep is a vital function of your body that should not be ignored, where sleep deprivation can lead to a number of problems.

Mindfulness and meditation together help in three major ways with regard to sleep problems:

  • Mindfulness and meditation work together to combat stress through retraining your body to elicit the relaxation response instead of fight or flight, which can be brought on by chronic stress.  The high cortisol levels associated with fight or flight makes it impossible to sleep, where mindfulness and meditation practices help reduce these high cortisol levels so your body is able to sleep.
  • Mindfulness and meditation strengthen different regions of the brain. Studies show that both disciplines have a direct impact on neural structure and functioning. This impact also reaches the part of the brain associated with REM sleep.
  • They together increase melatonin levels as well. Research shows that meditating before bed leads to increased amounts of melatonin, the neurochemical called the ‘sleep hormone,’ which makes sleep possible.

Physical and Psychological Benefits of Meditation

The benefits of mindfulness and meditation are many, besides your sleep quality, where the same physical and psychological benefits that help you sleep also help your waking life.

  • Physical benefits include: growing your brain; increasing blood flow to your brain; reducing blood pressure and heart rate; increasing production of serotonin and dopamine; boosting immune system, relaxing your muscles, and slowing the aging process.
  • Psychological benefits include: reducing stress induced anxiety and depression; increasing stress resilience; increasing positive emotions; stimulating the prefrontal cortex that helps with present moment awareness; increasing emotional stability and intelligence; increasing learning capacity; increasing empathy and compassion; increasing sense of connection to yourself and others in your life; increasing sense of meaning and purpose; and increasing sociability.

The practice of meditation must be ongoing as part of a daily routine, where the benefits will start to show even immediately but especially over a period of time. You have nothing to lose - give it a shot!

 

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Written by Laurie Larson |

April 5th, 2019 at 11:25 am

Posted in Excercise,Meditation