Last Updated on April 28, 2016 by Michael Brockbank
It’s fairly common knowledge that meditation can help you relax and clear your mind. This is the primary reason why I meditate. But have you ever thought of the health aspect of putting yourself in the lotus position? In reality, meditation can be just as important to your health as any exercise routine or diet plan. No, it’s not merely some religious practice – but it can be spiritual. When you meditate for health, you could directly affect more than just the mind.
Why You Should Meditate for Health More Often
Meditation can be used for a variety of situations. Whether you’re stressed out about work, pressured by the family or simply want clarity of mind, it’s an activity that can easily become part of your lifestyle. For me, it’s become quite habitual. Here are a few practical reasons why you would want to include it in your daily routine.
- Negativity Can Influence the Body
Studies have shown that nearly 80% of medical students will begin showing symptoms of the illnesses they are studying. This is because the mind can influence various aspects of the body. This is referred to as the placebo effect. You can convince your body to experience a variety of things. Negative emotions have potential to shorten your lifespan, because of the influence they have by convincing your brain. Meditation can help center yourself and reduce negativity. In fact, there have been several cases where meditation was instrumental in healing injuries and diseases.
- Decreasing Fat Stores
Stress can lead to an over-production of cortisol, the hormone released when you’re stressed or feeling anxiety. This hormone has been linked to increasing the level of fat stores within the body, most notably deep abdominal fat. This is why many people who are in stress-filled jobs will develop large amounts of weight around the mid-section as opposed to other areas. When you meditate for health, you can alleviate some of that stress and potentially decrease your waistline.
- Curbing Your Cravings
According to some studies, cortisol increases one’s cravings for things like sugars and fats. This may be related to the andrenaline response as the body increases metabolism in order to create energy. Instead of snacking on healthier foods, you’ll be drawn more to those that provide a quite boost of energy. Unfortunately, this is often short lived. The sugars and fats you’ll consume may more than likely turn into fat stores once you’re relaxed. Meditation can help reduce these “stress cravings” by decreasing the level of anxiety within the body.
- Adrenaline Response
Often times, high levels of stress lead to the adrenal glands going into action. These flood the body with adrenaline, which prepares the body for action. Usually, this is related to the fight-or-flight response during intense situations where danger is imminent. However, this is an automatic response by the body when you feel stressed because of any situation. This increases blood circulation, metabolism and blood pressure. Prolonged exposure can be harmful to the body. Meditation can help you release much of that tension and decrease the exposure of adrenaline.
- Enhancing Memory
Meditation allows you to reduce the amount of cortisol in the body, which has been linked to interrupting the neurotransmitters in the brain. By keeping yourself relaxed, you could essentially improve your memory whether it’s to create new ones or to recall information. While you might not develop a photogenic memory over night, wouldn’t it be nice to remember if you left the car keys in the freezer? It all begins with keeping yourself relaxed and stress-free for extended periods of time while you meditate for health.
- Preventing Sleep Deprivation
Sleep deprivation can lead to a wide range of complications both physical and mental. Loss of energy, impaired memory, loss of motor control and even motivation are just a small number of things that can happen from being deprived of sleep. This doesn’t include other aspects such as heart disease, high blood pressure and strokes. Meditation can be used to combat insomnia to help you relax at night. In turn, your life in general could be greatly improved over a short period of time depending on how stressed and tired you were to begin with.
- Preventing Brain Alterations
Although the evidence is still minor, studies have been done to link stress to the actual shrinking of the brain. While this could be linked to memory loss, reducing the activity of the brain could affect everything from emotions to body maintenance. Meditation has potential to be instrumental in preventing much of the this form of brain damage. Fortunately, a lot of these changes to the brain can be rectified.
Ideas for Meditating in the Home
Meditation is one of the easiest activities you can do when it comes to health. Essentially, you just need somewhere quite where you can relax the body even if it’s just for five minutes. Here are some of the things I do in the home to help relax and meditate for health.
In the Shower
As silly as it sounds, I meditate for health quite often in the shower. It’s one of the few places in the house where I can find solitude. Essentially, I sit on the shower floor in a lotus position and focus on the sound of the water hitting my body. This is also an ideal method for me because it greatly reduces the chances of me falling asleep while meditating.
In the Bedroom
A bedroom is another great place if you want to be alone with your thoughts. However, it will be beneficial if you set a schedule for the rest of the household. Dedicate a certain amount of time and let everyone else know that you are not to be disturbed. I find it difficult only because I have two pre-teen girls who fight all the time. Nothing fractures your concentration more than hearing, “I’m telling Dad!”
Sometimes I can get a few minutes in for meditation as soon as everyone else goes to bed. The problem with this is that I am usually tired myself by then. There have been several times where I worked myself into such a relaxed state that I fell asleep with my legs crossed.
Meditation is more than an aspect of being spiritual or part of several religious beliefs. There is a great deal of support for how it can be beneficial to improve your health in a myriad of ways. Finding yourself in meditative solitude can help focus on who you are while giving the body a better chance for being healthy. The mind is a powerful tool that has great potential. Do what you can to keep it working as it was designed.
What kinds of aids have you used to put yourself in a meditative state? Personally, I burn various incenses whether I’m in the shower or not.