We’re always being told that relaxation and deep breathing is good for our health. But what you may not know is exactly why meditation and guided relaxation is so beneficial. What is it about meditation that helps your body and your mind?
Did you know that meditation actually changes your body on a genetic level? That’s the results of a study by Harvard Medical School that shows the genes that fight disease actually become more active when you regularly practice medication or yoga. In particular, researchers discovered that there were more active genes for protecting against high blood pressure and minimizing pain.
There are many other benefits of practicing meditation. Many of these benefits are linked to the effects of lowering stress. Stress causes problems with an over-release of cortisol, which weakens your immune system, and it can raise your blood pressure and raise your heart rate. On the other hand, meditation and relaxation release serotonin, help to lower your heart rate, and help to boost your immune system. And the best news is – the benefits of meditation also increase the more you practice.
There are many different forms of meditation. You can choose to meditate for one minute or one hour. There are different ways to meditate including with mantras or with guided visualization. While the techniques vary a great deal, the effects are similar. But you do need to remember that the relaxation that comes with meditation is different from simply sitting on the sofa and watching TV. You only really reap the benefits when you learn a technique for meditation that actually works to release tension directly.
Health Benefits of Meditation
Meditation Increases Immunity
Meditating appears to help the body improve immune response, meaning that you can avoid illnesses and stop illness recurring. There was a study from the Ohio State University that discovered how muscular relaxation helped stop breast cancer from coming back.
Meditation Helps with Emotional Balance
To be emotionally balanced means to be able to live in the moment, without being clouded by the residue of memories and attitudes that may exert a negative effect on the body. Meditation helps health when you can attain a greater level of emotional balance, which allows for more expansive and successful living.
Meditation May Help Boost Fertility
Studies have shown that when women are relaxed, the likelihood of conceiving is raised. It can help to practice a meditation regime when you are trying to get pregnant as this may make it easier to achieve. Men may also have their fertility boosted by meditation and guided relaxation – stress may reduce the quality of sperm and also the quantity.
Meditation Helps Irritable Bowel Syndrome
A study from the State University of New York found that meditation helped people who were suffering from the condition IBS. When they meditated on a twice-daily basis, they found that their IBS symptoms like constipation and bloating got better in a significant way.
Meditating May Help You Lower Your Blood Pressure
When you meditate on a regular basis you could find that your blood pressure goes down, similar to the effect of blood pressure lowering medication. This is, according to experts, because meditation helps to cut the ties the body has with stress hormones. The stress hormones do not make the body react so strongly.
Meditation Has an Anti-Inflammatory Effect
When you are stressed your body is at risk of inflammation at a cellular level, which is connected to serious conditions like asthma, heart disease, and arthritis. Meditation works, again, because it disconnects the response to stress hormones in a significant way, making it easier to stay calm and to help the body prevent inflammation.
When You Meditate You Get the Calmness Benefit
Meditation is a means of stopping the body and the mind from being dominated by thoughts, whether they are positive or negative. When you meditate you learn the method of being able to observe thoughts without having to be consumed by them or have to act on them. They are simply there, and can come and go without effect. This leads to a calm mind, which leads to less stress, which leads to better health – mentally and physically.
You can get the meditation health benefits by regularly carrying out a body scan where you take in how tense you are in certain parts of the body. You can focus on your breathing, repeating a mantra, undergoing a guided imagery session, taking time out to simply sit and focus on your breath, and through other techniques. Mediation is a personal thing and there are many ways you as an individual can benefit from the varied techniques. Experiment with which method suits you best, and remember it is better when you do not have to force your body to relax.