It is now well known that keeping the mind healthy and happy can benefit a person's overall health.
Therefore, one of the most common tools I use to assist my clients to create perfect health is by promoting the regular practice of meditation. A common objection, for those who have not done it before, is that they don’t know where to start, or they don’t have time. There is a common misperception that meditation must be complicated, or it needs to take up a huge chunk of time to be effective.
On the contrary, just taking ten minutes a day to spend time cultivating inner harmony is all that is required to start having a positive effect. When you commit to taking ten minutes a day just to sit and be, you will notice a positive effect after as little as three weeks.
1. Change Your Perception
Our mind is a powerful instrument, which is constantly filtering our experience, according to our established beliefs. Our perceptions produce emotional reactions, which result in physiological reactions in the body. When you become aware of these emotional and physiological reactions by ‘being’ with them, rather than being distracted by the ‘busyness’ of life, you can start to change them which, in turn, changes your perception (which then changes further emotional and physiological reactions!).
The best example of this is stress – which is so common in our fast-paced society, and comes from our expectations not being met. Stress can cause psychosomatic illness – illness in which people believe they have physical ailments which, in turn, causes the symptoms to actually occur. Examples of common psychosomatic illnesses include rashes, diarrhea, and vomiting. Many studies have now proven that meditation can reduce stress, which can also prevent asthma attacks, ease PMS, prevent ulcer flares and prevent headaches.
2. Drug-Free Pain Relief
Studies have also found that meditation can be very instrumental in reducing pain. It is believed that the slower breathing which occurs while meditating calms the body. This results in a reduced pain level. I personally used meditation when I was in labor with my children to decrease my pain levels during contractions.
3. Healthy Heart and Immune System
Extensive research is investigating how meditation affects the brain, cardiovascular changes associated with meditation, and how meditation can have a positive effect on the immune system. Distinguished universities like Yale and Harvard are doing meditation research as are many hospitals and reputable medical organizations. There is still so much that western science doesn’t understand, but the results speak for themselves.
4. Sense of Purpose
Meditation connects you with your greater consciousness within (your source, or spirit). This source is your true identity, rather than the individual (ego) self we have been led to believe we are.
This process of reconnection produces healing benefits because it frees the mind from habituated, reactive, and conditioned thinking. It brings us fully and completely into the living present – moment-to-moment awareness. It reconnects us with higher vibratory energies and expanded consciousness, which assists us to feel a greater sense of direction in our life.
5. Greater Self-Confidence and Emotional Wellbeing
Why is meditation effective? Because as we learn to witness our thoughts, rather than constantly react to them, we are increasingly able to subdue and eventually control our desires, which means we can start to consciously control our thoughts. Day to day, we have little idea about what is going on in the thought processes of our mind. In fact, brain researchers say we have over 60,000 thoughts per day. Most of these thoughts are largely unconscious, below the level of our awareness. Our minds are like an overgrown jungle with wild animals prowling all around.
When you learn to control your thoughts you will notice very positive effects on your emotional well-being. You will be able to better concentrate, decrease anxiety, think more clearly, and feel more creative. It can also help an individual develop intuition.
On a deeper level, meditation can boost one's self-confidence, give you a deeper sense of purpose, cause a greater appreciation of nature and provide additional nurturing to relationships. It can also bring more understanding and love.
Whether it be for physical or emotional reasons, there are many benefits you will experience through meditation. A great place to start is the Chopra Center’s 21 Day Meditation Challenge. Take the challenge with 1000’s of other like-minded souls across the world. Let’s do it together!