HOW MEDITATION BOOSTS OUR MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH, ACCORDING TO MEDICAL SCIENCE
Scientists have often questioned the benefits of the ancient practice of meditation. Till recently, it was believed that meditation is a purely spiritual or religious practice intended for monks. However, western medical science has recently begun to understand the incredible benefits that meditation has to offer to the human mind and body.
1. Meditation is as effective as anti-depressants
As per research published in the JAMA internal medicine journal (January 2014), meditation is as effective as medication, in cases with mild to medium depression. Meditation practices such as mindfulness have been found to be so effective that psychologists now recommend and teach this technique to their patients as part of therapy.
2. Meditation boosts immunity
Studies at UCLA and other institutions have shown that meditation helps in increasing immunity by increasing antibodies and reducing pro-inflammatory genes. These studies showed significant increase in immunity for people who practiced meditation for just 8 weeks ! This also debunks the myth that meditation takes years and years to give any health benefits.
3. Meditation helps boost the relaxation response
Our mind and body are in a state of constant panic in today’s digital world. We are either rushing to office, or responding to emails or arguing with our colleagues and family. This leads to our body activating the ‘fight-or-flight’ mode for extended periods of time which leads to heavy breathing, heightened pulse rate, slower digestion etc. By switching to the body’s relaxation response, all vital functions such as digestion and blood circulation return to their normal state.
4. Meditation helps the body defeat sickness
According to recent research at Harvard Medical School and other institutes, between 70-90% of illness originates from stress. While yoga teachers have known this for hundreds and maybe thousands of years, modern science has accepted this fact only recently. Through meditation, we can keep the mind free from stress and avoid many illnesses.
How to practice meditation: Sit down on the chair or on the floor in a comfortable position for about 10 minutes. Try to keep the back and neck erect. Then, slowly breathe in and out a few times. As the mind becomes quieter, slowly take the attention to the breath. Just observe the breath entering and leaving the body. During any point, if the attention wanders away from the breath, gently bring it back without any irritation or anger. (Over the period of a few days or weeks, the thoughts will start to reduce by themselves. Focusing on the breath is a simple but amazing technique to bring you to the present moment. This is one of many techniques that can be used for meditation).
Note: The team at Zifcare consists of psychologists, yoga teachers and life coaches who prepare this content for the benefit of our users. We stick to basic, simple and actionable advice so that all can benefit from the knowledge and best practices from across the globe to promote mental and physical well-being.