The Benefits of Meditation
Meditation has beneficial effects on a variety of mental and physical factors, including a reduction in anxiety disorders as well as immune and digestive system disturbances. It is well-known that meditation can bring anxiety under control; the typical “fight or flight” response is mediated greatly by settling down, at least once a day, and repeating a mantra over and over or just concentrating on simple breathing, trying to let go of all extraneous thoughts and concerns. If a thought does interfere or become bothersome, repeated practice of mindful meditation or progressive relaxation of each muscle of the body brings relaxation and a sense of well-being. In addition, meditation has been helpful for patients with asthma, ADHD, hypertension and drug abuse.
John Cabot Zinn, the father of mindful meditation, claims that anytime one can transcend the worries of everyday stresses, control can be achieved. Much of this calm and control can be attributed to the fact that mediation literally changes the brain. The stress hormone, cortisol, is dramatically reduced during meditation and regular practice of deep breathing exercises lowers the heart rate and blood pressure. Dr. Jane Fleming had this to say:
‘In survival mode, heart rate rises and blood pressure shoots up. Meanwhile muscles, preparing for danger, contract and tighten. And non-essential functions such as immunity and digestion go by the wayside.” Relaxation, on the other hand, is a state of rest, enjoyment and physical renewal. Free of danger, muscles can relax and food can be digested. The heart can slow and blood circulation flows freely to the body’s tissues, feeding it with nutrients and oxygen. This restful state is good for fertility, as the body is able to conserve the resources it needs to generate new life.
Therefore, meditation renews life, in other words, all bodily systems work better and if healing is needed anywhere in the body, meditation facilitates the regeneration of body and mind by switching off the stress response.