Why is meditation so important and so effective? Apply the Prometa Health philosophies:
Spiritual considerations: Meditations is referenced dozens of times in the Bible. Jesus himself talked about it. If the Bible is the inspired word of God, it must be pretty important. Meditation is a way to connect with a higher/universal consciousness for those who don’t believe in the Bible or go the organized religion route. Something “spiritual” can happen when meditation is done properly and regularly. It’s good for the soul : )
Logical considerations: “Common sense” or logic tells us that if we perfom meditation in one of its simplest forms (sitting quietly and simply breathing/concentrating on nothing but breathing) that we will become, if not but anything else, relaxed. Relaxing is a good thing, right? Meditation can do so much more (as we will see through the scientific lens), but I make this point for those who feel as though it is bogus or don’t think they can possibly meditate “like those Himalayan monks do”. Guess what, you can and you don’t have to master it to benefit from it!!
Scientific considerations: So what does science say about meditation? There are way too many excellent studies and papers on the benefits of meditation, so I will try and list some of the most important I feel (below) that will benefit those who doubt it or don’t think they have the time or ability to do it.
Meditation can be a religious or spiritual practice. My intention in sharing this article is not to promote a certain type of religion, but to bring awareness to how powerful religious practices (such as meditation) can be on a person’s physical health.
“A 2010 study by Newberg and colleagues that included brain scans of Tibetan Buddhist and Franciscan nuns found that these long-term meditators had more activity in frontal-lobe areas such as the prefrontal cortex, compared with people who were not long-term meditators.”
There are countless studies that show the positive impact of meditation, so I will give you my personal account instead of referencing more papers. I started meditating (infrequently and inconsistently) a few years ago. They were more like power naps in the middle of the day and I certainly felt good afterwards, but wasn’t sure if I was doing it correctly or not. Many people I talk to express the same feeling towards meditating: am I doing it correctly, how do I even do it, there are so many ways out there, etc.
What works best for me and where I really started realizing a benefit was when I changed to morning meditation and practiced a simple form called mindfulness meditation (5 Scientific Reasons to Practice Mindfulness Meditation) Essentially, as part of my DAILY morning routine, I will sit quietly in a comfortable position and just focus on breathing. I will listen to the breath sounds, feel the body movements, and concentrate on just breathing. If another thought enters my head or another sound generates a different thought, I will let it occur (but not focus on it) and then just come right back to focusing on the breathing.
After only 3-5 minutes, I start to notice a change in my mental state. It’s hard to describe, but I almost fall into a dream-like trance, yet I am very awake. I begin to experience that “higher connection” that many people refer to when they pray or meditate. The longer I go the better, but honestly anywhere between the 5-10min mark and I’m good to go! Feeling relaxed, refreshed, and almost reset. I also tie in some prayer just before I start the meditating so that my “zone” can more easily turn spiritual in nature. Again, very hard to describe but in my opinion, very easy to try and succeed at some level.
Here’s what ultimately sold me on meditation and why I religiously (pun intended) practice it every morning – I have suffered from tics disorder/tourettes my entire life. I hate labeling something a disorder when I don’t agree that it’s a disorder, but ask my wife and family, I have a few circuits loose upstairs ; ) For those who are unfamiliar, tics are involuntary muscular movements that occur on the subconscious level.
For example, when I was an adolescent I used to violent snap my head and sporadically shake my arms at random times during the day. It wasn’t every minute or hour, but enough to where my family took notice. Most kids grow out of tics, but I never did. If fact, with increased stress levels in adulthood and more chaos, they got worse (I also think it has something to do with head trauma playing high school and college football, but that’s a rabbit hole to go down another day). They primarily turned more into facial expressions like sniffling and teeth clenching.
I can carry on a perfectly normal life, am really not a stressed out person, but they always linger and can get annoying. Enter the meditation – tics are practically gone. I am able to control them so much easier now!! Call it the power of meditation physically rewiring my brain (as some studies suggest it can do), call it stress reduction, call it placebo. I don’t care, it freakin works!! I wholeheartedly BELIEVE that I can rewire my brain, which is probably why the tics are diminishing. Maybe not because my brain chemistry is changing, but because I believe it is and I physically feel different after I meditate. Or it could just be due to the fact that I am more relaxed and clear minded. Regardless, the meditation is crucial.
If anyone has similar experiences or is experience high levels of stress, I whole heartedly recommend meditation as a way to combat the stress. There are countless resources on the internet describing various ways to meditate, so I’m not going list them here. I’d just try a few and see what works best for you!
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