I went to a social gathering last week and one of the topics we discussed was New Year’s resolutions. One of my resolutions is one that I have on my list every year and do practice consistently. It is doing a daily meditation. I feel that meditation is so important for overall well being – the perfect tool to unite mind/body/spirit. In our crazy stressful demanding lives, we need a tool to help us stay in balance with everything. This tool is meditation. It does not cost anything, you can do it anywhere and it is a great way to start and/or end your day.
The benefits are numerous: meditation improves immune function which is paramount to reducing risk of not only acute colds/flu but also indirectly reducing risk of chronic diseases like cancer and auto-immune disease. Studies have shown that meditation can decrease emotional disturbance associated with neoplastic diseases. Meditation decreases inflammation which is at the root of chronic disease. It appears to do this by down-regulating pro-inflammatory gene expression. It has been shown to decrease c-reactive protein which is a lab marker of inflammation. Many people rely on meditation to live with chronic pain. It can help increase feelings of well being and can help you transcend your current level of pain whether it be physical or emotional.
Meditation decreases feelings of loneliness, decreases depression and anxiety and can improve your ability to regulate your emotions. I see clients regularly that are having a hard time keeping their emotions in a balanced state so I always recommend that they start meditating. It can increase feelings of social connectedness thereby reducing feelings of isolation which are a known health risk. It can help you feel more compassionate and allow you to access your heart space more easily.
As I work with corporate clients on a regular basis, meditation serves their needs very well. It increases gray matter in the brain and increases attention and memory which can come in handy when you need to be productive and multitask at your office. Meditation improves your overall focus. I start my day off with a 10-20 minute meditation in the am. I find it increases my clarity and connection to my intuition which serves me in my job. It allows me to remember important details and increases my retention of important facts. Meditation helps you function under higher stress levels while reducing those negative effects of stress on the body/mind/spirit.
Start with a simple ten minute exercise: focus your attention on your breath. Buy an egg timer and set it for 10 minutes. Sit in a position that is comfortable for you and breathe. Meditation is a discipline and your mind will show up to distract you with many random thoughts. Keep returning your attention to your breath. Over time it will get easier to focus your attention on your breath. There are many styles of meditation to choose from- explore your different options-mindfulness meditation, loving-kindness meditation, compassion, yoga nidra, vipassana, etc. I highly recommend that you stick with it because it will change your life. If you want further instruction, please book an appointment with me at parallel wellness. Until next time, be well…
References:Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Health-Care Professionals. Int. Journal of Stress Management, Volume 12(2), May 2005, pg. 164-176.; Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction training reduces loneliness and pro-inflammatory gene expression in older adults. Vol. 26, Issue 7, Oct. 2012, pg. 1095-1101.; J. Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 95 (5), Nov. 2008, 1045-1062.