By Virginia Cunningham
When we get sick, we know doctors can offer us medicine to cure us physically. But Health Psychology tells us we need to consider the mind as well. A depressed person is much more likely to develop a cold. Extra stress at work can lead to high blood pressure. If your mind can influence your illness then it stands to reason that improving your health should start with something that targets the mind AND the body. Meditation is one such vehicle with proven benefits for both body and mind.
Here are the top 10 ways that meditation benefits the mind and the body:
1. Boosted Immunity
A poor immune systems leaves you at risk to get sick from the bacteria and viruses that your body is exposed to everyday. According to research, meditation has shown great results in boosting immunity.
2. Increased Fertility
For those who are having trouble getting pregnant, or simply want to boost their chances, meditation can be just the thing. Just 30 minutes of calming meditation a day can alter the chemistry in your brain resulting in higher fertility.
3. Lowers Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is connected to many different health issues, including strokes, and it is even affected by stress. Meditation can make its mark on your body by lowering your blood pressure. If you’re in the danger zone for blood pressure, consider adding a few minutes of mediation to your daily schedule – even just ten minutes can make a big difference.
4. Helps Prevent Heart Disease
Heart disease is one of the most common causes of death, and is also worsened by high levels of stress. In order to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, or stroke, the American Heart Association recommends 20-30 minutes of meditation to relieve yourself of the stress that can egg on these health issues.
5. Pain Management
Whether you have a sport’s related knee injury or chronic back pain, regular pain can affect your life negatively. Relying solely on medication to deal with the pain can become addictive and is dangerous for your health. Try meditating a few times a week, and you will likely find a large reduction in your daily pain.
Endorphins are basically the brain’s natural high. The pituitary gland sends neurotransmitters to the body which are like happiness signals. Usually, endorphins are produced during exercise like running, but meditation has also been proven to increase the production of endorphins in the body, which reduces stress and controls cravings,
7. Enhances Memory
As you get older, you become more forgetful. The results of meditation are high in memory improvement and a longer attention span. It only takes 20 minutes a few times a week to get a stronger memory.
8. Fights Depression
If you’re fighting depression and don’t want to become reliant on medication, meditation might be for you. Not only does it release endorphins, it can also reduce the stress and positively affect your brain chemistry.
9. Better Brain Function
Don’t we all wish that our brains were always at the top of our game? Meditation has the potential to increase your quick thinking abilities, which assists you when taking tests, facing a crisis at work, or even just completing a puzzle.
When not dealt with, stress can rule your life and cause a plethora of health issues. The calming atmosphere of meditation and the few minutes you take to rid your mind of negative thoughts can make a world of difference.
Want to get the most out of meditation?
A great way to enhance your meditation experience is by creating a room solely devoted to that. By adding some greenery, a water wall, or even just calming music, you can greatly change the way that stress affects your health. Your room does not have to be fancy–just make sure that it’s only purpose is for meditation.
While meditation is not a replacement for a doctor’s care, it can do a lot to prevent further health problems. It only takes a few minutes a day to see results in your overall health. When you start meditating before your health problems take control of your life, you are better able to actively fight for better health.
Virginia Cunningham is a freelance writer and yoga enthusiast based out of Los Angeles. With the stresses of life that can so easily build up, she enjoys practicing yoga and meditation daily to combat these problems.