When we meditate, we are focused only on the experience of meditation. We are living “in the moment.” There is no room for our worries or fears. The stresses and tensions we have been carrying around are suspended. We become relaxed and are able to experience inner peace and joy.
As meditation is practiced regularly, meditators find that they are able to handle everyday problems in a calmer and more relaxed manner. Our problems and difficulties are seen from a new perspective. Our coping skills are increased and we seem to find a new inner strength. Relationships at home and work are improved. Our lives become more productive.
Many studies have been done which show how our lives are enhanced by meditation. Some of the results of the study show that through meditation we gain:
· Increased clarity of mind
· Improved emotional well-being
· Increased happiness
· Increased Intelligence
· Increased creativity
· Improved memory
· Improved relationships
· Reduced crime and improved quality of life in society
Meditation has been used successfully in the treatment and prevention of high blood pressure, heart disease, migraine headaches, and auto-immune diseases such as diabetes and arthritis. It has proved helpful in reducing obsessive thinking, anxiety, depression and hostility.
We’ve all heard of the “Fight or Flight Response.” It is a natural defense response, which prepares our bodies for running or fighting. When we perceive danger our bodies respond and prepare to either flee to safety or fight back. Physical changes that take place include:
· Increased blood pressure
· Increased heart rate
· Increased rate of breathing
· Increased body metabolism (or rate of burning fuel)
· Marked increase in the flow of blood to the muscles of the arms and legs
The more we activate the fight or flight response, the higher the chance is that we will develop high blood pressure or some other stress related problem – particularly if circumstances do not allow us to actually give battle or flee. While this response is a necessary part of our make-up, it does not always serve it’s original purpose of protecting us from physical danger. In our modern culture, this response if often activated repeatedly when the danger is not physical but emotional or social based. Therefore, we don’t flee and we often don’t fight back, resulting in anxiety, hypertension and other related diseases. However, we all have a mechanism available to us to counteract the effects of the flight or fight response. When we invoke the relaxation response we stimulate an area of the hypothalamus which results in:
· Decreased breath rate
· Decreased heart rate
· Decreased blood pressure
· Decreased sympathetic nervous system
· Decreased body metabolism
One of the ways to invoke the Relaxation Response is through Meditation. (Other ways include: Autogenic Training, Yoga, Progressive Relaxation, Hypnosis and Sentic Cycles.) Meditation results in our experiencing physical well being. During meditation our body relaxes and we are free of stress and tension.
Scientific studies show that meditation benefits us physically by:
· Reducing stress
· Lowering blood pressure
· Improving our health
· Increasing our energy
· Reducing insomnia
· Reversal of biological aging