Monday, 16 March 2015

The Ways Meditation Could Improve Your Life


 



From The Huffington Post
by Timi Gustafson, R.D.

"...Although most forms of meditation are rooted in religious and spiritual traditions, millions now practice purely for the enhancement of their health and well-being, according to statistics by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute for Health Statistics (NCHS). Most commonly, meditation and other relaxation techniques are thought of as an essential part of stress management.

While not all experts are convinced of the effectiveness of meditation in promoting both mental and physical health, it is by and large accepted that therapeutic measures induce calmness, which can be instrumental in easing psychological stresses like anxiety and depression, as well as physical pain. Some studies have suggested that symptoms of medical conditions like asthma, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), high blood pressure, and even heart disease and cancer can be better managed with meditation. Smoking cessation and recovery from alcohol and drug abuse also show higher success rates when meditation is included in the process.

Even though the jury may still be out on whether, or to what extent, meditation and other practices of mindfulness can materially alter the brain, it is certain that chronic stress causes real damage. Neuroscientists have long discovered that cortisol, the stress hormone, can indeed create lasting changes to the brain structure and detrimentally affect brain functions. Reducing the impact of stress by engaging in effective countermeasures such as meditation can mitigate at least some of those injuries.
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