Meditation for Stress Reduction

January 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Spiritual Growth

What do you think of when meditation is mentioned?  Buddhist monks sitting in monasteries on mountaintops? That’s what I pictured. Did you know that more than 1,000 scientific articles have been published on the subject of meditation? Impressive research tells us that meditation induces a sense of well-being and emotional balance. It helps to reduce the body’s reaction to stress. And let’s face it. Stress is a killer.

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Researchers at the Maharishi School of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, found that meditation has an enormous impact on stress reduction. When they examined a group who had meditated for four months they saw that they produced less of the stress hormone cortisol. They were therefore better able to adapt to stress in their lives, no matter what their circumstances were.

So, just what is meditation? I would say that it is focused attention on reality. It’s connecting with all that is and being in the present moment. It’s deep relaxation however you want to do it–whether you’re walking, running, cycling, sitting in a yoga class, lying on your bed or being mindful of the present moment as you do the dishes. I find breathwork the easiest process to enter this focused attention.

Psychological Benefits

  • Increased feelings of vitality and rejuvenation
  • Increased happiness
  • Increased emotional stability
  • Decreased anxiety
  • Decreased depression
  • Greater creativity
  • Decreased irritability and moodiness
  • Improved learning ability and memory
  • Increased insight and wisdom

Physiological benefits

  • Deep rest (as measured by decreased metabolic rate, and lower heart rate)
  • Lowered levels of cortisol and lactate (two chemicals associated with stress)
  • Improved blood pressure
  • Drop in cholesterol levels
  • Improved flow of air to the lungs
  • Significant slowing of the aging process

Give meditation a try. You’ll find that you will value yourself more and come back to it again and again.

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