5 ways a clear mind can improve your life.
Although meditation has been practiced for thousands of years, it didn’t really catch on in the U.S. until just a few decades ago. Now that it has, researchers want to know how meditation helps. By studying this age-old technique, they hope to better determine what positive effects it has both physically and psychologically.
The ancient practice presents many benefits, including the ability to:
1. Lower your blood pressure and stress levels
Even a few minutes of meditation a day will impact overall stress levels in the body. The American Heart Association supports meditation as one way to help lower blood pressure, lower stress, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.1 Meditation achieves this partially by decreasing the adrenaline that your body releases. A study found that meditation-practicing Americans with known heart disease had a 48 percent reduced risk of a heart attack or stroke than the same population who didn’t meditate at all.
2. Strengthen the immune system
Several studies have found that practicing in regular meditation has positive effects on your immune system. This means that you will likely have fewer bouts with a cold bug or flu virus. Meditation also has a preventive effect against disease and illness as your body is stronger and better able to respond invaders.2
3. Improve brain function
Although brain function declines naturally over time, research published by Frontiers in Psychology reveals that meditation helps lessen that effect.3 Meditation slows the degeneration of the gray matter, especially when meditation is practiced long term, and it serves to improve your memory and focus.
4. Lessen pain and anxiety levels
JAMA Internal Medicine reports that many studies confirm lessening the pain perceived by those who meditate, whether due to an injury or chronic condition.4 In fact, it offers 30 percent improvement when the pain is visceral (related to internal organs) and a 5 to 8 percent improvement to severity when the pain is musculoskeletal. This same study also found an impact on anxiety and depression levels.
5. Help prevent insomnia
Sleep is essential for a productive work day, and in a recent study, participants who learned and practiced mindfulness meditation found it easier to fall and stay asleep. Not only that, but they reported a decrease in daytime fatigue, allowing for a more focused mindset.5
These are just few of the ways meditation can help improve the quality of life. People choose to meditate for different reasons. As a chiropractor, let these five important reasons encourage you to try it today and spread the word to your patients.
1 American Heart Association. “Meditation and heart health.” http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/MyHeartandStrokeNews/Meditation-and-Heart-Disease-Stroke_UCM_452930_Article.jsp. Published May 27, 2015. Accessed June 8, 2015.
2 Morgan N, et al. The effects of mind-body therapies on the immune system: meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2014;9(7). Accessed June 2015.
3 Lunders E, et al. Forever young(er): Potential age-defying effects of long-term meditation on gray matter atrophy. Front Psychol. 2015;5:1551. Accessed June 2015.
4 Goyal M, et al. Meditation programs for psychological stress and well-being. JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(3):357-68. Accessed June 2015.
5 Black D, et al. Mindfulness Meditation and Improvement in Sleep Quality and Daytime Impairment Among Older Adults With Sleep Disturbances JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(4):494-501. Accessed June 2015.