You might have gathered by now that I am VERY passionate about healthy living. I love researching ways to improve my health and luckily, there is already so much knowledge out there, and different opinions, that the journey is really adventurous too.
I would say that my interest in how to “survive” started when I moved away from my parents at the age of 18 to a foreign country and became a student. I had a lot of things on my plate to deal with, and for the first time, I had to take full responsibility for the outcome.
All those novelties brought me a lot of pressure and stress. I felt overwhelmed at times which affected a lot my results and openness to new experiences, learning, and friendships. Anxiety and stress are no joke. I kept thinking what could I possibly do to deal with it, as it won’t miraculously disappear overnight. I started browsing on the internet (which was fun as it was a new tool back then and I finally had full access to it) and came across some really helpful tips and tricks.
Since I didn’t have much money back then, I decided to go natural all the way and use what I have, and make the most of it! And that’s how I discovered yoga, breathing, and meditation. My God, what a game changer that was!
However, the more I shared these “discoveries” with my friends and family, the more I heard back their excuses and different opinions such as “meditation is not for me, I prefer action, I don’t like sitting and doing nothing; I don’t see the point in switching off my brain when right now it is making some real gold for me…”
But as the trend was growing and getting more and more accepted globally, even my friends and family were starting to think about it more. Not to mention, the impact that celebrities and business people had on them when they started publicly speaking about the benefits of meditation.
The thing is when you try the meditation for the first time you think it doesn’t work. I’ve heard it million times by now.
“I cannot stop thinking!! This obviously doesn’t work. I am not wired for this.”
So I’ve put together this short blog to share with you some really cool things I know about the meditation. Maybe it will encourage you to try it. All you have to do is pay attention – to yourself. 🙂
When science confirms the ancient wisdom…
It took a while for science to jump on board and confirm what the ancient wisdom has been telling us for centuries: we need to get to know ourselves and listen to our body in order to reach the level of ultimate harmony with one’s self. When you are in this state of harmony, there is no room for disease.
With a healthy mind, anyone can reap physical, psychological and emotional benefits.
Science – the same reductionistic science that is used to evaluate various drugs and medical procedures – has proven that your mind can heal the body. It is no overstatement to say that virtually every single health problem and disease can be improved with a mind-body approach
This seems very straightforward to me. I mean, we do tend to worry ourselves sick, right?
If we would only learn how to calm ourselves in those situations, we would avoid many, many illnesses. When I’m under stress, my stomach is the first one to suffer. What stress triggers in you?
While I was reading the book “Thrive” by Arianna Huffington, I was amazed to read how many scientists have backed up the meditation as the best tool for improving health.
Here are just a few that I have taken out to illustrate the benefits of meditation:
1. A study funded by the National Institutes of Health showed a 23% decrease in mortality in people who meditated versus those who did not, a 30% decrease in death due to cardiovascular problems, and a significant decrease in cancer mortality. “This effect is equivalent to discovering an entirely new class of drugs (but without inevitable side effects)”, observe Mark Williams and Danny Penman.
2. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Harvard Medical School found that the relaxation response – the state of calm produced by meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises – actually switched on genes that are related to augmenting our immune system, reducing inflammation, and fighting a range of conditions from arthritis to high blood pressure to diabetes.
3. It physically changes our brains. One study found that meditation can actually increase the thickness of the prefrontal cortex region of the brain and slow the thinning that occurs as we age, impacting cognitive functions such as sensory and emotional processing.
4. A study of patients with a history of depression at the University of Cambridge found that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy lowered the risk of depression relapse in participants who had experienced three or more episodes from 78% to 36%
5. Researchers at UCLA found that mindfulness and meditation helped lower feelings of loneliness among the elderly, while researchers from the University of Michigan documented that military veterans experienced lowered levels of post-traumatic stress disorder after mindfulness training.
Do you meditate? If yes, what are your favorite ways to switch off and how do you feel after it? If not, did reading this convince you to try your hand at meditation? Please share your comments below. I quite enjoy interacting with you.