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Meditate-why Meditate-Meditate for a healthy you

 

Why Meditate?

Nowadays, most of us have a lot of stress in our lives.  Similarly, finances, jobs, family, and social expectations have us scrambling to keep up. And because we are scrambling, our sleep is poor, our diets are awful, and all of this leads to a very unhealthy you.

Woman under stress from many demands uses meditation to cope with anxiety

All this stress can cause a myriad of health problems such as…

  • Stomach upsets

  • Muscle tension or pain

  • Headaches

  • Sleep problems

  • Fatigue

  • Change in sex drive

  • Chest pain

And if this wasn’t bad enough stress can also cause…

  • Anxiety

  • Irritability or anger

  • Restlessness

  • Sadness or depression

  • Lack of motivation or focus

  • Feeling overwhelmed

What about your behavior?  Even one or two of the symptoms of stress can cause you to behave in ways that you would never normally do.  In fact, common effects of stress on your behavior can lead to…

  • Overeating or under-eating

  • Exercising less often

  • Social withdrawal

  • Angry outbursts

  • Tobacco use

  • Drug or alcohol abuse

Concerned man with stressed woman. Meditation can improve stress

Ever wonder why you have mysterious aches and pains?

It could be caused by stress.  According to the American Psychological Association, an onset of stress can cause your muscles to tense up. When the stress passes, that tension releases.  Chronic stress can cause your muscles to become taut and tense for long periods of time.  Did you know that both tension headaches and migraines are associated with chronic muscles tension in the area of the shoulders, neck, and head?

Most importantly, relaxation techniques such as meditation have been shown to not only effectively reduce muscle tension and decrease the incidence of certain stress disorders, but to also increase a sense of well-being.

In addition, stress can be especially difficult for people with respiratory disorders such as emphysema, asthma, and COPD. In other words, stress can make you breathe harder and could in some instances cause breathing constrictions.

Likewise, stress can also cause hyperventilation, bringing on panic attacks to someone who is prone to them.

Your cardiovascular system, which is comprised of your heart and blood vessels can also be affected by stress.  Momentary or short-term stress caused by such things as work and financial deadlines, being stuck in traffic or the sudden slamming of your car breaks to avoid an accident can increase your heart rate.  This increase causes your heart muscles to contract, releasing stress hormones like adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol.  Stress can also trigger your “Fight or Flight” response, increasing the amount of blood being pumped and increasing your blood pressure. Chronic stress or constant stress, experienced over a prolonged period of time causes a repeated increase in the heart rate and blood pressure, and an elevated level of stress hormones This can increase your risk for hypertension, heart attack, or stroke.

Older man with blood pressure cuff giving a thumbs up signal. Lower blood pressure with meditation

And it’s not just your cardiovascular system that is affected but also the gastrointestinal system, your endocrine system, and even your reproductive system.

Moreover, stress can cause your adrenal glands to overproduce the hormone cortisol.  Too much cortisol can affect the function of your brain, immune system, and other organs.

According to Harvard Health Publishing, meditation is one of the most easiest and achievable stress-relieving techniques you can do to induce a state of deep relaxation. They also claim that even though the research on meditation’s health benefits is new, it is promising.

Here are a few types of meditation:

Concentration Meditation: Teaches you how to focus your mind and is the foundation for other forms of meditation.

Heart-Centered Meditation: involves quieting the mind and bringing awareness to the heart, an energy center in the middle of the chest.

Mindfulness meditation: encourages you to focus objectively on negative thoughts as they move through your mind, so you can achieve a state of calm.

School children sitting on their desks practicing mindful meditation

Tai chi and Qigong: are moving forms of meditation that combine physical exercise with breathing and focus.

Transcendental meditation: Is a silent mantra meditation created by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in India in the mid-1950s.

The best part about meditation is that there is really no right or wrong way to do it.  Try them all and see what best suits your current mood and situation.

Large tatooed man performing moving meditation such as yoga, qigong, and tai chi

In addition, if you want to focus on something other than your racing thoughts, try a moving meditation such as Qigong, Tai Chi, or yoga.  Similarly, a focus meditation such as Heart-Centered meditation or using a video, mandala, or other image to focus on can slow down racing thoughts as well.

If you have a problem and can’t find the solution, try to meditate on it.  There are many articles and video interviews of famous and successful people who say that meditating on solutions to problems have helped them overcome obstacles to their success.  Many artists and creative-type people meditate to help with inspiration and creativity.
The use of binaural beats and Isochronic tones is another way to help you with meditation. Certain frequencies can help you achieve a deep meditative state quickly and safely. Studies have shown they are effective at helping with pain management, too.
Guided meditations are a great relaxation technique.  Like hypnosis, a good guided meditation will talk you through relaxing your body, helping you moved down into a deep state of relaxation, then they will help you focus your mind by taking you on a mental vacation to places that we associate with relaxation, such as a beach, a hammock in the quiet forest, or warm pool of water where you can float in gentle peace. Guided meditations are great stress busters.
Young woman listening to headphones

So, what are you waiting for?

Take control of your health and join the millions of people meditating to a happier, more stress-free life.

 

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