For centuries, meditators claimed there are immeasurable benefits to practicing meditation on a regular basis. From physical relief to mental and emotional control, these claims are finally being studied and researched. By learning how to meditate, you are conditioning the mind and body to focus and develop the most primary functions while letting the distractions fade. Meditating daily, even for a few minutes at a time, can improve your overall well being by tapping into the roots of your physiology.
Be present. Meditation is often misperceived as a black and white practice, but it’s actually very gray. It can be practiced for one minute or one day. It can involve primary focus and relaxation or something more advanced like Transcendental Meditation or mindfully cleaning the chakras with well honed mental tools. The point of meditation is to slow down, nearly stop, and live in the present.
That is key to a fast-paced world where life is instant, convenient and all pre-planned. Jumping off the conveyor belt of routine, so to speak, will help improve individual control over emotions, self-awareness and prioritizing, which all translate into self-esteem, relationships, mental health and the body’s operations, like digestion.
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Get connected. Results of a 2010 meditation study show visual changes in the brain following an eight-week period of “mindfulness meditation.” At the end of the eight weeks, images of the brain showed increased density of the hippocampus, which is responsible for memory and learning; it’s linked to an individual’s development of self-awareness and self-reflection. At the same time, there was a noticeable decrease in the size of the amygdala, which handles stress and anxiety.
For people who meditate daily for years on end, they tend to have more highly-functioning brains. Science supports this by looking at the neurotransmitters and pathways within the brain. As mentioned before, meditation can focus your mind and focus the workings of your central nervous system. Not only are the highways in their brains more efficient, but so are all of the controls and firing points.
Age mindfully. It’s never too late to add meditation into your routine. In a time when people are living longer than ever before, but dealing with higher occurrences of mental health issues like Alzheimer’s, why not try? Click here for a Zen playlist you can throw together for a hot bath or meditation time.
A study published in The Lancet Oncology in 2013 looked at the effects of lifestyle changes on people’s telomeres. Telomeres are the caps on the ends of chromosomes that influence the cells’ aging rate. By adjusting diet, exercise, stress management (meditation) and socializing, the study showed an increase in the length of the telomeres by about 10 percent. Consequently, there was also a group that made no adjustments and their telomere lengths decreased by three percent.
To begin meditating, try one downloading an app that will guide you through your five to 10 minutes. Click here to read The Beginner's Guide to Meditation. Once you get the hang of it, you can practice anywhere, any time – apply the cognitive power you use in meditation to situations that cause you stress. It's your time, your practice. Why not start today?
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