Meditation calms the mind and body through practice. We don’t have to live with our minds racing and bodies rebelling. When we meditate the central nervous system settles, lowering stress hormones and increasing healthy hormones. In creating a calm focused mind, we also create a calm healthy body and are more able to experience joy in life. Practicing meditation increases mental acuity and memory, self confidence, patience, compassion, peace and joy. It also decreases stress, anxiety, depression, muscle tension and headaches. All of this in turn creates a healthy environment for our bodies to self regulate and heal each and every day. We are born with the innate ability to heal and live in balance, but because we have spent so much time ignoring the health of our minds and bodies in one way or another, we are being diagnosed with record levels of anxiety, high blood pressure, depression, sleep disturbances and cancer, just to name a few.
Our bodies and minds are never given an opportunity to be still and calm.
We don’t need statistics to tell us that our lifestyles are creating more stress than our bodies are able to regulate. Deep down, we know that we are challenging our healthy states either emotionally, mentally or physically, and sometimes all three. This is not a fun way to live, nor will it provide us with vitality and longevity.
Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years, and as typical of our western culture, we wait for science to prove what healers and sages have always known: that meditation works to heal our injured bodies and minds.
Meditation has been proven to:
- reduce stress
- normalize blood pressure
- lower cortisol levels
- lessen or resolve depression
- lessen or resolve anxiety
- normalize heart rate
- relieves chronic pain
- increase endorphins (happy hormones!)
- increase DHEA (youth hormones!)
- optimizes our immune system
- increases self-awareness, compassion, patience and self-confidence
- reduces the mental chatter; allowing for a calmer state of being
- creates clarity and focus
- inspires creativity
- improves memory
- alleviates PTSD
All of the above is facilitated by creating new neural pathways (neuro-plasticity). Yes! Our brains can change and grow!
And my all-time favourite! Meditation creates space between thoughts in order to be more responsive and less reactive. We would all be happier if there was less reactivity in the world.
Finally, I offer this quote from my mentor Sarah MacLean, “With moment to moment awareness, meditation creates the space in which radical change occurs”.
I know this to be true.