Research now shows how practicing as little as 15 minutes of mindfulness meditation a day can help you feel youthful, alert and energised. This helps you enjoy these precious years of your life and be more aware of and engaged in the present moment. Studies show how those who practice meditation regularly are healthier, happier, feel calmer and emotionally balanced and are more resilient to handle daily stress triggers.
Mindful meditation has been shown to help the body maintain health, balance and energy in the following ways:
Balance hormone levels
Meditation helps balance the release of adrenalin and cortisol (your stress hormones linked to many terminal illnesses) by producing positive hormones like endorphins, which help keep you feeling uplifted and happy; oxytocin, the feel good hormone; DHEA, which helps fight the ageing process; melatonin which helps promote healthy sleep; and serotonin which balance mood and keep depression and anxiety at bay. Balanced hormones mean your body is not in a stress state or fight or flight mode but is in a neutral mode known as your relaxation response.
Increase focus and attention
Because the frontal cortex of the brain is activated during meditation, you experience more focus, alertness, memory, willpower, creativity, calmness and a greater sense of resilience to handle daily stress triggers. MRI scans reveal sections of the frontal cortex activated during meditation meaning brain development and growth. As little as 15 minutes of meditation a day has been found to reduce progression of dementia and Alzheimer’s and can increase memory function.
During meditation you build pathways to connect to your body and therefore help the body relax and release any built up tension or blockages. This means a greater mind-body connection, self awareness as well as a relaxed and energised body.
Meditation can help you manage headaches, joint pain, arthritis and many more illnesses by giving your mind a point to focus on and distraction from the pain. Meditation can also be beneficial for people going through chemotherapy.
Being in the now
Fear, depression, anxiety and stress all take you out of enjoying the present moment and project your energy into the past or the future. Meditation helps you be in the now which means you can enjoy and be grateful for the opportunities which lie in front of you right now.
There are many local meditation groups as well as online resources, however to begin, I teach my students simple breathing exercises you can do as you wake as well as throughout your day to maintain a state of calm. For example you can bring your awareness to your inhale and exhale breath and focus on counting 4 counts as you inhale and 6 counts as you exhale. You can repeat this 8 times slowly to give yourself a great 2 minute meditation moment.
Do you meditate? Where do you meditate and how has your life changed because of it? Tell us below.