Coming to the forefront of masses, a new “hip” trend is sweeping the nation. The millennials call it the answer, religious fanatics call it a portal to Satan, scientist say its all a figment of our imagination, or do they?
Meditation, far outlasting its recent buzz, has been a part of Asian culture for millennia . The earliest known scriptures on meditation date back to around 1500 b.c. However, earlier known records date back to at least 5000 B.C. Yes, mediation has been around for thousands of years considered a pathway/gateway to the inner and outer levels of the mind. The goal of mediation, as the elder monks intended, is salvation. They believed meditation led one to conquer the physical world: fears, biases, addictions and desires.
Contrary to popular belief, there are over hundreds of meditations. Each one with its on specific purpose and function. Some of the more mainstream meditations include:
- Transcendental Meditation– The idea of detaching from hindrances like anxiety and doubt. The outflow of toxic habits and the inflow of harmony of mind, body and spirit. Transcendence (keyword) into new realms and possibilities.
- Zazen (Zen) Meditation – A more historical meditation that deals with detaching to understand the external environment. Zazen’s, meaning “sitting meditation”, purpose is to offer wisdom pertaining to the nature of existence. The practice of allowing yourself to just “be.”
- Qui Gong Meditation – Regarded as a collective healing system. This chinese ancient meditation, Qui Gong ( meaning life force), uses certain breathing techniques to heal the body. These techniques are believed to strengthen, cleanse and circulate the life energy.
- Guided Visualazation Meditation – The idea of dreaming while awake. This mediation deals with using the stillness of the mind to evoke images, smells, and sounds that promote an overall state of wellness.
- Kundalini Meditation – Refers to the awakening and harnessing of the hidden life force potential inherent in all of us through the use of guided breathing, mantras, and lifestyle. Very popular among the New Age movement.
As you can see, meditation techniques vary with the individual and are geared towards different outcomes. Some deal with inner mind work, some with procuring your dreams, some for unlocking hidden spiritual paths and potential. In the beginning, I recommend trying different types in order to see what works best for you and YOUR goals.
OK, I’ve given you a brief history in the origin of mediation now lets talk about present day. Presently, mediation has become a social, and psychological fad. Healthy gurus, millionaire mentors, social media organic marketers, you name it. One thing they all have in common is the positive effects brought on in their lives by experimenting with this new sensation. However, as the obvious influx of the “New Age” movement has a few people thinking this is all smoke and mirrors, we here at Organic will help you decipher fact vs fiction!!
Here we have it:
Top 10 Benefits of Meditation
Ready, Set, “Ommmmmmmmmmmmm…”
1. Happy Hormones
Meditation effects the body in a multitude of different ways. One being that it increases the endorphin levels in your brain. Your brain produces endorphin anytime you feel the emotion of joy. This is done by providing the body with deep relaxation. This practice has been known to produce a zen-like calm state similar to post workout. An alternative after a long stressful day.
“Studies have shown that brain signaling increases in the left side of the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for positive emotions, while activity decreases in the right side, responsible for negative emotions,” ( Huffington Posts)
2. The Anxiety Killer and Mood Enhancer
Studies have shown that regularly practicing meditation can positively affect your mood by increasing serotonin in the brain giving it some of the same effects an antidepressant!
For example, Liveanddare.com writes: “A study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison indicates that the practice of “Open Monitoring Meditation” (such as Vipassana), reduces the grey-matter density in areas of the brain related with anxiety and stress.“
If used correctly, studies have also shown how meditation can help in the healing and understanding the root of mental trauma causing the anxiety or mood swings.
3. Combats Aging Throughout the Body
“Studies show that meditation changes brain physiology to slow aging. “Cognition seems to be preserved in mediators,” says Sara Lazar, a researcher at Harvard University. Lazar adds that mediators also have more gray matter – literally, more brain cells.” (HuffingtonPost.com)
- At the cellular level, it increases the duration of the cells by adding longevity to the length of telomeres and telomerase: enzymes made of protein in the body that allow for continued cellular reconstruction. This means, the longer these enzymes operate in our body, the more our body will destroy and rebuild like new. As these enzymes begin to Dissolve with age, we start to rebuild weaker and sometimes not at all.
4. Tames the Beast ( Unconscious Mind)
Meditation has been known to conquer the most hidden impulses. One of the biggest problems in society today is that people have very little control over their subconscious mind. Lack of control in this area can lead to :
- Disastrous love life
- Failed friendships and relationships
- Negative habits
- Loss of important opportunities.
Sometimes we need to take a step back and view our actions through a third perspective. Meditation helps you become more aware of your impact on others and the world.
5. Reduces Pain Better than some Prescription Drugs
Recently, a study was done by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre,. 15 people were selected in a study to figure out whether meditation had an effect physical/mental pain. Each of the participants were subjected to 20 minute classes focusing on simple breathing techniques. Each participant had their brains monitored before and after the class: What they found was nothing short of astounding!
Dr. Fadel Zeidan concluded in his study that within the patients subjected to the exercise, their had been a 40% reduction in pain intensity and a 57% reduction in pain unpleasantness: 25% higher than prescription drugs!
6. Eases Introversion and Enhances Social Skills
“In a study published in the American Psychological Association, subjects that did “even just a few minutes of loving-kindness meditation increased feelings of social connection and positive affirmations toward novel individuals, on both explicit and implicit levels.” (Liveandare.com)
7. Improves Cardiovascular and Immune Health.
Meditation can also assist in cardiovascular and immune health. The power of relaxation! The relaxed effect that is a common characteristic among the different practices, releases the chemical nitric oxide. Nitric Oxide expands the blood vessels leading to drops in blood pressure and stronger immune systems.
A study from the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine showed that 40 out of 60 of their high blood pressure patients could stop taking their blood pressure medicine after they had each begun to meditate.
8. Helps to Overcome Addiction
Want to kick that caffeine or smoking addiction? We may have your answer.
“Research on mindfulness meditation indicates that qualities we once thought immutable that form temperament and character can actually be altered significantly. By retraining your mind through mindfulness practice, you create new neural networks.” (psychologytoday .com)
By offering a new route to what seems like a dead end for some, mediation comes in handy again a natural aid to getting over even the toughest addictions.
9. Loose Calories and Trim Belly Fat
Ever wanted to achieve the perfect body but just loved food too much? Join the club! Want to know what could help you? If you haven’t guessed the answer this far in the game, your not paying attention :meditation!
“Meditation satisfies the same neurochemical “fix” within the brain that we get when we eat addictive food.” (ecoinstitute.com)
In people who are long term meditators, things such as impulse become a fleeting habit of the past. For this practice gives mastery over the primal need to gorge . ]
Also, the Ecoinstitue writes: “Meditation lights up the “willpower” brain region. A 2009 joint-Duke-Caltech University study examined the brains of 37 dieters while they looked at 50 photos of various foods, rating each by taste and healthiness. Their study showed that those dieters with the highest levels of willpower had very high activity in the “dorsolateral prefrontal cortex” .”
With this being said, maybe consider another possible route on the road to cutting those unwanted calories.
10. Control over Brain Waves
Your brain operates in frequencies. It contains a collective of nerves that emit electromagnetic waves to and from the brain. The collective are made up of beta, alpha, theta, and delta waves. Beta being the brain state thats the least effective in promoting a healthy life to delta being the most scientifically positive state.
Most people remain in a beta state. Meditation helps you to control these states and allow your subconscious the benefits.
This concludes our top 10 benefits of meditation countdown.
Hope you enjoyed. Leave a comment below if you have any questions or thoughts
Don’t forget to incorporate the Organic lifestyle one day at a time