How Meditation Can Change Your Life for the Better

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How Meditation Can Change Your Life for the Better

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Meditation is a practice used by numerous people from different backgrounds and cultures. It’s an ancient practice used by many to clear the mind and become a happier and healthier person.

Gets Rid of Anxiety

There are many studies on how to get rid of stress, and meditation is one of the key factors in doing so. In a study by Dr. Elizabeth Hoge, a psychiatrist at the Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders at Massachusetts General Hospital and an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, says that mindfulness meditation makes perfect sense for treating anxiety. In a study Dr. Hoge conducted, which was included in the JAMA Internal Medicine review, found that a mindfulness-based stress reduction program helped lessen anxiety in people with an anxiety disorder, which can cause poor sleep, worries, and irritability. The control group consisted of people who improved, but not as much as drastically as those in the meditation group. In the meditation group the subjects were taught general stress management techniques. All the participants received similar amounts of time and attention. Thus showing that you can rid yourself of some of your anxiety simply by meditating.

Lowers the Risk of Heart Disease, Strokes and Lowers Cholesterol and Blood Pressure

Richard A. Stein, a professor of medicine and director of the exercise and nutrition program at New York University’s Center for Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, says that “stress is your body’s natural alarm system. It releases a hormone called adrenaline that causes your breathing to quicken, and your  heart rate and blood pressure to rise. But that “fight or flight” response can take a toll on your body if it’s sustained over a long time. When we were cavemen, that adrenaline helped us be ready if a tiger was going to attack. Today, all the tigers are in our heads. For people with cardiovascular disease, meditation provides a technique for reducing stress and focusing on things they can do to be healthier, meditation is a way of allowing you to come to balance in your life.”  This means that by stopping this “fight or flight” response he talks of, you can lower the malicious effects to your health by adopting the practice of meditation into your life.

Helps Relieve Depression

Many people struggle with different levels of depression on a day to day basis, but don’t know how to combat it. Medicines always have side affects, so people often look for another cure to their struggle and for many, that cure is meditation. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD sifted through nearly 19,000 meditation studies, and found 47 trials that addressed issues such as anxiety depression and pain and found that the 47 studies met their criteria for well-designed studies. Their findings, suggest that mindful meditation can help ease psychological stresses like anxiety, depression, and pain. When you can reduce your depression by using a method that doesn’t involve side effects that may be worse than what you are struggling with, why wouldn’t you?

Helps Relieve Stress

Stress is another problem that all people have faced at one point or another, most people deal with immense stress on a daily basis, but meditation can help with it. A Rutgers University study found that, after practicing for only a couple of weeks, meditation dramatically reduced, by more than 50%, the body’s main stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol, know as the stress hormone, regulates changes in the body in response to stress such as: Blood sugar (glucose) levels, fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism to maintain blood glucose and immune responses. When you can lower cortisol with meditation, you can lower all of the harmful things that having an abundance of it can cause.

Increases your Productivity and Learning

In a world where education is vital to a successful life, the need to be a better learner and student is what drives people to look for ways to grow their brain, and meditation can help. In a study run by Harvard neuroscientist Dr Sara Lazar, 16 volunteers had their brains scanned before and after an eight-week ‘mindfulness’ meditation course. The volunteers had weekly group sessions of meditation and they were also asked to practice for a half an hour each day. After eight weeks, an MRI scan showed that those who went on the course had thicker grey matter in several parts of the brain. These included the left hippocampus, a small horseshoe-shaped structure in the central brain involved in memory, learning and emotional regulations. The other parts strengthened were the posterior cingulate cortex, which is important for memory and emotions; the temporo-parietal junction, involved in empathizing; and the cerebellum, which helps coordinate movement. The people that had not participated in the mediation study, showed no change in their brain after an MRI scan. This illustrates how meditation can actually make you smarter, thereby improving your learning.

Helps Promote Inner Happiness and Peace

Meditation’s selling point has always been to create an inner peace within someone and get rid of the negative parts of one’s life creating a happier and healthier mind and body. By combating all of the problems listed above in people’s mind and body, meditation can take away pain, making you happier without the disadvantages of a pill or just ignoring your mental problems. When you eliminate stress, anxiety, depression and other harmful entities in your life, you will become happier and healthier. When your mind and body are healthy, you can achieve anything, without be weighed down by the problems we cause for ourselves in our mind, and meditation helps us do that.   

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