We live in a society where everything is always moving, changing and challenging us to maintain our sanity. We have to be up early and get ready for a day at work; there is getting the kids ready for school, making sure they get to baseball, football, volleyball, music lessons, dance lessons and the list goes on. You must make sure the laundry gets done, figure out the plan for dinner. The kids need to have their baths, and you need to get ready for tomorrow. Then on top of that, you have to have your phone continually dinging, playing games, ringing and of course don’t forget the computer time and maybe a little of the TV.
It is a constant barrage of stimuli from the outside bombarding you onto the next thing you must get done. The human body is a unique system that can maintain homeostasis under the most severe conditions. Your body will speak to you and tell you what you need to know to maintain health and wellness “if you listen.” The problem is that we don’t hear and usually find out there is a problem when our body rebels and manifests a problem.
We are much like an internet router. You have to unplug the router to clear all the junk that has built up to keep giving you optimal performance. We also need to unplug. We need to clear all of the junk out, quiet our spirits, mind, and soul and listen to what our divine has to say to us.
A perfect way to do this is through meditation. Meditation has been around for thousands of years. It requires no membership, no monthly auto draft from your bank, you will not need your credit card, and you will not have to work it into your monthly budget. Even 5 minutes of meditation can refresh your spirit and well-being. I would start out with 5 minutes and work your way up to a minimum of 30 minutes daily.
Physical, Emotional and Mental Benefits of Meditation
Greater emotional balance
Increased creative thinking
Lower blood pressure
Improved heart health
Spiritual Benefits of Meditation
The primary benefit of meditation is that it helps to create the balance between our inner world (the quiet, interior experience) and our busy, noisy exterior world.
As a tool of balance, meditation also helps us access our subtler levels of consciousness. Most human beings only experience the denser dimensions of their physical bodies, emotions, and minds. However, all the great mystics, and now even our modern science, tell us that we are more than just our dense dimensions of body, mind, and emotions. In fact, beyond these three dense dimensions are the subtle dimensions where we experience progressively more truthful states of being.
Physical Benefits of Meditation
What does meditation do to the brain? Can we even prove something is going on when we meditate? With modern brain-imaging technologies, we can now see the different structures of the brain respond to meditation, and this further proves what the ancients have been teaching us all along.
Meditation can improve our length and quality of attention. According to The Journal of Neuroscience, studies have found that daily meditation for a few short months improved alertness and visual attention. Meditation is to our mind what exercising at the gym is to our bodies. It prepares us for our daily encounters and helps us in all areas of life from business to personal life. Yes, we all know that relaxation is good for us and that is exactly what yogis have been telling us about meditation for thousands of years. The daily practice of meditation is as essential to your health as the food you eat.
According to a recent study at Harvard Medical School, deep relaxation through meditation and yoga changes our body at a genetic and cellular level which means more genes for fighting disease and many other cellular benefits.
Meditation can be beneficial in reducing stress. New research from the Shamatha project at the University of California suggests meditation may help lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Anxiety and depression can be substantially reduced in a short period of time with the daily practice of meditation. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies have shown that people who meditate regularly have a thickening of the brain near the prefrontal cortex and this helps in limiting negative emotions that are generated by the limbic system. These are the results of a study at McGill University.
Find yourself a quiet room or place where you will not be disturbed. No phone, computer or other people unless also meditating allowed. Sit in a comfortable position or sit in a comfortable chair. Close your eyes to shut off the external stimuli. Focus on your breathing and notice your chest as it rises and falls with each breath. Slow your breathing down and inhale slowly and then exhale slowly. Make sure you expand your lungs when you inhale as much as possible and then exhale as much as possible. Continue to focus on the breathing. Be aware of your breathing and let your mind go. Do not attempt to control your mind. If you find it running away with you bring it back to your breathing awareness. Just let thoughts flow through your mind. Do not react to them but just be aware. Sit back and observe the thoughts. As you feel anxious or uncomfortable, go back to your breathing focus.
Meditation isn’t difficult or expensive–it just takes time. Your wellness and health are worth the 30 minutes a day. Please look forward to a meditation class at First Choice Primary Care soon and experience this for yourself.
Wade Smith MSN, APRN, FNP- C