Marvelous Meditation and Modern Medicine
Are you tired, or depressed? Do you have knots of tension? Like millions of Americans, do you suffer from migraines? Perhaps you have or there is a family history of a chronic illness such as hypertension; or cardiac troubles that you’d like to defer.
Don’t worry you aren’t alone. In our society nearly everyone has a high level of stress. No matter your profession, situation or lifestyle we are all familiar with stress and tension. Unfortunately the amount of stress we acquire is not the end of it; constant stress can cause a plethora of physical problems. Then we still have to continue to work and handle all of the responsibilities that are demanded of us. We are required to handle life often without taking a break, or letting the world see us sweat. This all works until we remember that, tights or not we aren’t superheroes. We are everyday people who need to find a way to slow down from time to time.
What can we do? How do we cope with our everyday lives as well stop ourselves from being overwhelmed? Finding a way of relieving stress is paramount in maintaining a functional existence. In my own experience meditation has become one of the single most important and simple tools to reduce stress and relax.
Why is it so simple? Think about it, it costs virtually nothing, it can be done anywhere you can steal a few minutes, and the only things you truly need to get started are you and your mind.
Why does it work? Looking for the exact explanation as to how it works seems to ruin the wonder of meditation. Some nay sayers and modern medicine practitioners are still attempting to understand exactly what makes meditation work. Well breathe easy; it’s already been proven to have not only psychological but physiological benefits. It has also been regarded a sound harmonization to traditional therapies by most therapists.
For example, clinical psychologist Diana Adile Kirschner, Ph.D., at times requests that her patients begin a meditation program. This has yielded her documented evidence that gives meditation validity as a beneficial addition to medical health care. "Not only is meditation an absolutely marvelous [tool to lower stress]," Kirschner says. "[But] it helps people better relate to one another. I can tell when clients are following through with meditation. For instance, I had a couple who consistently bickered. After they started meditating, they came in less angry, more self-reflective and more loving."
Your love life isn’t the only thing that meditation can help. Mental health issues are also thwarted by meditation. Persons with thoughts of isolation, hopelessness and helplessness, i.e. depression, have also been helped by meditation. Several studies show that people suffering from depression typically feel better after implementing a meditation program. This change maybe because meditation boosts one’s self confidence, and ability to connect with others.
Stress is another unfortunate affect of life can also be relieved through meditation. In fact Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., of the University of Massachusetts Medical School conducted a study that proved it. The study recorded the brain waves of 51 stressed-out employees at a firm in Wisconsin. The 51 participants were randomly placed into two groups. 25 people were asked to learn and begin a program in meditation over an eight week period. The remaining 16 were left alone as a control group.
The 51 participants had their brain waves scanned a total of three times during the course of the study. Once at the beginning of the experiment, secondly after meditation lessons were completed and lastly four months after. The researchers found that the 25 persons who practiced meditation showed a significant difference in the activity to the left frontal lobe. In everyday talk this simply means that the people who meditated were calmer and happier than they were prior to the experiment.
Probably one of the greatest benefits of meditation is its ability to help slow down or in some cases reverse physical aliments. Documented studies have shown us that, meditation can help lower blood pressure, and reverse heart disease. While the instance of heart disease has gone down in men; it is still considered to be in the top 3 causes of death in the U.S. As an added bonus meditation can reduce pain and enhance the body’s immune system, enabling it to better fight off diseases.
When I found out all of the health benefits of meditation I couldn’t stop myself from thinking... Why don’t more people meditate? Some researchers have actually come up with an answer for that too. Since meditation brings about an awareness, self understanding and personal insight; it forces people to look deeper within their minds. Researchers speculate that this element of personal insight is the very thing that causes meditation to be difficult for people.
Perhaps meditation is difficult to face, but far easier to do. Performing the physical act of meditation typically consists of sitting quietly, focusing on one’s breath, a word or phrase. However, a person may also be walking or standing as they meditate. The basis of meditation is finding your focal point, and centering one’s thoughts. Therefore whether walking, standing or sitting with focus meditation is possible.
The second thing I thought after reading all of the facts that noted the benefits of meditation vs. modern medicine I thought... Why not give this a try. It costs me nothing to try and, if the studies are correct I could earn good mental and physical health. Who wouldn’t want to have a healthier body, mind and spirit?
Let’s quickly note that despite the proven benefits of meditation; you should never abruptly stop any prescribed medications. As always speaking to your health care professional first is the best course of action. The site below can help you get started with methods of meditation and a meditation center near you.
This website gives the names and addresses of centers in Boston where meditation classes can be taken. It also described meditation in more detail.