Meditation Can Alleviate Stress
The Physical and Mental Benefits
The benefits of meditation are both physical and mental. A person that includes meditation in their life almost immediately feels results. Here is a long list of the benefits of meditation:
- Lowers high blood pressure
- Decreases anxiety
- Decreases tension pain
- Increases creativity
- Increases serotonin (the feel good chemical)
- Increases happiness
- Improves immune system
- Develops intuition
- Increases peace of mind
- Increases energy level
- Sharpens focus
- Increases awareness
In addition to the above benefits, meditation has been scientifically proven to activate certain genes that fight disease due to deep relaxation. Genes such as the ones that protect against high blood pressure, pain, and infertility are activated by the type of relaxation achieved through meditation. Meditation can be just as effective as any pharmaceutical drug, but without the side effects. Genes are responsive to behavior, mood, and environment. Dr. Bruce Lipton calls this epigenetics. A person's state of mind effects the body on a mental, physical, and genetic level. The effects of genetics were not fully understood until fairly recent decades, but the mental and physical aspects were. That's why meditation was practiced for centuries by Ayurveda and Tibetan traditions.
In order to reap the benefits of meditation regular practice is necessary. Meditation is effective when setting a time of day to meditate each and every day. Turn off your phone, get in a comfortable position and try finding a time when you usually have 20 minutes to an hour uninterrupted. Once meditation is a part of your daily routine, it becomes easier and enjoyable. A little self discipline and commitment are what's needed. People from all paths of life, cultures, religions, and professions can find meditation rewarding once they know how.
Training the Mind to Meditate
In meditation you are basically training your mind. This takes practice, much like an athlete training for a sport. There are many techniques for meditation, but a couple are more suitable for beginners. Here they are:
- Concentration meditation
- Mindfulness meditation
Let's begin with concentration meditation. This technique involves focusing on one thing. Some examples would be concentrating on your breath, staring at a focal point, listening to a repetitive chant, repeating a single word or mantra, or counting beads (like buddhist prayer beads or a catholic rosary). Focus is the key and for beginners this is difficult. In the beginning start with a few minutes a day. When this gets easier add more minutes and keep doing so to where you build up to 20 minutes to an hour.
Next technique is mindful meditation. In mindful meditation the goal is to observe wandering thoughts as they pass through the mind. The key is not to judge or fixate on these thoughts. Just be aware and continue with trying to keep your mind without any thought or idea. Over time, with practice, you will see how your feelings and thoughts will come through in patterns. Awareness of any judgement, good or bad, can help you overcome self destructive behavior. Inner balance starts to take root once that happens.
Meditation Made Easier
The Road to Enlightenment
The main goal of meditation is to liberate the mind from attachment. External circumstances and judgmental conscious thought are attachments. What being enlightened or free means is to not follow thoughts that are self destructive and not to live in the past. What meditation is training us to do is to live in the now moment. Whether you get to the point of stopping conscious thought or not, the process has positive effects on the mind and body as well. Through meditation inner balance can be achieved by letting go of attachments. Whether you achieve enlightenment is not something you should worry about. As you learn to meditate you continue to grow and have a better understanding of your thoughts. This will help you realize what attachments you have and not to keep them because they are detrimental to your overall well being.