Meditation may sound like an exotic spiritual or religious ritual, but it is actually a relaxation technique combining various practices without a religious doctrine. It could mean focusing on an object or sound, visualisation and becoming aware of and regulating the breath.
The aim is to achieve a sense of peace and relaxation, thus leading to a balanced state, holistic good health and heightened awareness. It has long been known that the mind and body are inter-connected, so the health of one depends on the other. Studies have now shown that meditation alleviates certain physical conditions, apart from enhancing mental and emotional states.
Positive Effects of Meditation
Meditation teaches one to get rid of stress by learning to relax and enjoy a sense of well being. Due to heightened self awareness, concentration and confidence improve. There are powerful emotional and mental benefits, leading to a positive attitude to life and strong sense of purpose.
The right hemisphere of the brain is related to emotional processes, while the left side is linked to the intellectual. Meditation helps to balance both parts and boosts the brain functioning, leading to a balanced personality.
Health Benefits of Meditation
Apart from the mental and emotional benefits, meditation offers many physical benefits to improve and maintain good health. It was discovered in the 1970s that involuntary physiological functions like the heartbeat can be controlled by meditation, on the premise that the mind can control the body.
Research has proved that many conditions like skin problems, asthma, headaches and pains can be psychosomatic manifestations of anxiety or tension. This upsets the balance of chemicals in the body, which can be corrected by meditation. Since stress is the cause of a number of physical problems, achieving a stress free and peaceful state ensures that the related conditions are avoided or erased. Once the source of the problem is addressed, the bodily functions and immune system are strengthened. Clinical studies have shown that just simple breathing exercises can alleviate stress induced conditions like asthma, sinusitis and panic attacks, phobias, irrational fears and improve mental health. Calming the mind and body acts as a natural cure for insomnia.
Moreover, meditation helps to control even more serious problems like high blood pressure, circulatory problems, muscular tension and pain. With improved circulation and a regulated heart rate, blood pressure and cardiac problems can be prevented. Chronic and even terminal illness can be alleviated by meditation.
Meditation inspires a peaceful, happy mind, described by Buddhists as “in the world and not of it”. Consequently, it also impacts the body, and alleviates stress related and psychosomatic conditions. It has been seen that meditation has a greater physiological impact than other forms of relaxation or exercise. Since it is not based on a religion or belief, it can be used universally to promote holistic health.
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