Meditation is mental discipline which involves focusing your awareness and directing your concentration onto an object – it may be your breath, a word or phrase your repeat silently, a memorized creed or passage, or an image in your mind.
You get constantly stimulated emotionally, mentally, physically and visually on a daily basis physically. Taking a break from this stimulation can help improve your health, natural health expert Dr. Joseph Mercola explains. Meditation allows you to rest your mind and direct its focus on one particular thing, free from any form of distraction, or on nothing at all.
Meditating allows you to become more aware and mindful of the things going on around you. Through meditation, you can strengthen the areas of your brain that regulate attention and memory, detach from thoughts that lead to emotional swings, manage your mood cycles and stress levels, and learn how to do things more effectively.
Aside from the emotional and mental benefits, numerous studies have looked at the physical health benefits of meditation. Every illness is related to stress on some level, Mercola points out, and since meditation is effective at relieving stress, it can also help relieve:
- Chronic pain
- Gastrointestinal distress and irritable bowel syndrome
- High blood pressure
- Mild depression
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Respiratory problems such as emphysema and asthma
- Sleep disturbances
- Skin disorders and
- Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
Meditation can even help boost your immunity. In a study published in Psychosomatic Medicine, researchers found that people who had eight weeks of meditation training produced more antibodies to a flu vaccine. Dr. Mercola doesn’t recommend the flu shot but this shows that meditation can boost the immune system.
Think of good health as a three-legged stool, says Dr. Mercola. The first leg is proper diet, the second is exercise and the third being stress management tools like meditation.
The stool can’t stand up without all three legs. That’s how important meditation and stress management can be to your overall health and wellness. Your survival depends on your ability to handle what life throws at you, the food that you eat and the condition of your body.