A Case for Meditation

Stress. It's a killer. In fact, it is THE killer.

Disease (AKA "Dis" "Ease") is caused by stress and it comes in forms of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Whether it's physical inflammation causing pain or emotional distress causing insomnia or external forces bearing down on us, it is all stress.

What I am trying to say is if we want to live happy, healthy, LONG lives, we don't need to eat right, exercise, sleep well. Yes, that is all good to do, but have you ever listened to people who lived over 100? What do they say is the secret to living? It's never any of these things. Most of the time, these people say they still smoke their one cigar a day, drink a shot glass of bourbon and eat their bacon in the morning. But what they do say is that they just enjoyed their life. They didn't live in constant STRESS. These are people that laugh a lot and let things roll off their back.

Why Daily Meditation? Because it alleviates stress. The more you do it, the more beneficial it is to your body.

Here are eight things to know about meditation:

Meditation Increases Mental Focus

When we are overwhelmed, our brain lights up in all areas. We start burning energy all over a brain like an overpowered lightbulb. When a lightbulb gets overcharged, what eventually happens? It bursts. And that's what happens to us. Researchers have found that meditation centers our energy in the middle of the brain, allowing us to focus on the problem at hand rather than running around like a chicken with it's head cut off.

Long-Term, Consistent Meditation Increases Resilence To Stress

Researchers have shown that repeated meditation actually shrinks the amygdala which is in charge of emotions, in particular, our negative emotions. MRI's have shown that people with clinical depression, for example, have large amygdalas that are constantly firing negative thoughts at them. Meditation quiets this by naturally shrinking that part of the brain.

Meditation Increases Our Compassion

Researchers have found that a particular form of practice called Loving-Kindness practice (loving ourselves and the world around us) expands our ability to feel compassion. Love is the one emotion that actually decreases stress. To incorporate love into every part of our lives is to experience happiness. Experiencing happiness decreases stress. Decreasing stress helps us live happy, healthy, LONG lives.

Meditation Improves Mental Health

This was kind of stated in the previous points, but also deserves it's own attention. We have a serious problem with anxiety and depression in our society. More importantly, we do not address it. Studies have shown that teaching children meditation and yoga at a young age helps them to reduce anxiety and depression and increase their ability to handle life's challenges.

Meditation Can Have A Positive Impact On Your Relationships

Meditation, particularly mindful meditation (the practice of here and now), can allow us to listen and connect to our environment which includes our loved ones. We are able to practice active listening and, in doing so, handle conflict with poise until it is resolved positively.

Meditation Reduces Many Kinds Of Bias

Several studies involving meditation on Loving-Kindness (AKA Tonglen or Metta Meditation) have shown that people develop connection to all kinds of others that they would not associate with before, including homeless, elderly and minorities.

Meditation Impacts Life Expectancy

Science has discovered that meditation increases activity of telomerase - an enzyme implicated in longer cell life and, therefore, longevity. Boom. There you have it.

How does one even begin to meditate?

Thank God for modern technology because it's right at your fingertips! Three apps can be downloaded and teach you how to meditate right off the bat! Insight Timer (my personal favorite), Calm, Headspace.

If you really think you would have a hard time meditating, then I would recommend looking into Muse. It's expensive, but it records your brain waves as it guides you down into a deep meditation. You can see how well you have meditated and you might be surprised how deep you got.

10 minutes of daily meditation, folks. That's all that is needed to make a difference.

10 minutes a day and watch your long life unfold!

In good health!

Source: Sullivan Acupuncture | 495 N Rt 21, Ste 104, Gurnee, IL 60031