Meditation. When many people think of this word they are likely to be skeptical and have difficulty believing that the age old art can derive many mental and physical benefits. Studies have shown that this practice can lead to lower stress, anxiety, and blood pressure, as well as strengthen the immune system. However, cultural and social stereotypes may be keeping this effective and free resource highly underutilized.
Despite what many believe, meditation is not only a religious practice; it has a wide variety of applications that can be beneficial to the body as well. Meditation practices can range from simple breathing techniques to advanced visualization or mantra-based techniques.
Stress and anxiety are two inevitable occurrences that many of us suffer from at one point or another throughout life. It is well known both stress and anxiety can lead to mental and physical health complications, ranging from high blood pressure to clinical depression. While medical research has not drawn a definitive correlation between meditation and improved health, studies have shown a strong cause and effect relationship.
According to WebMD, studies show that individuals that habitually meditate have lower blood pressure and stronger immune systems. Doctors attribute this to the stress reduction aspect of the art. Dr. Charles L. Raisin, M.D. of Emory School of Medicine conducted a study that indicated a few minutes of consistent meditation over a six-week period improved physical and emotional health for participants.
The overwhelming result was a reduction in stress, which is a known factor in improving immune systems and overall health. Another study by the University of Wisconsin revealed “higher electrical activity in the left frontal lobe of the brain, an area that tends to be more active in optimistic people, after 8 weeks of training in meditation.” Aside from health improvements, meditation even led to higher levels of concentration in daily life.
If stress or anxiety is taking a toll on your life, meditation is a free and easy way to reduce these ailments while improving cognitive abilities at the same time. The studies make a strong argument that people can improve their daily life and health by meditating. A simple internet search will return nearly all of the information on this topic someone would need to train their mind in the art of meditation.