Study after study has shown what practitioners have known for thousands of years – meditation is good for the body, mind, and soul. The mind-body connection is critical for health, and meditation bridges and enhances both. Stress Meditation is one of the best tools we have to counter the brain’s negativity bias, release accumulated stress, foster positive experiences and intentions, and enjoy the peace of present moment awareness. Years of research has established that practicing meditation regularly had tangible health benefits including:
-Decreased blood pressure and hypertension
-Lowered cholesterol levels
-Reduced production of “stress hormones,” including cortisol and adrenaline
-More efficient oxygen use by the body
-Increased production of the anti-aging hormone DHEA
-Improved immune function
-Decreased anxiety, depression, and insomnia
Meditation can help you tap into your brain’s deepest potential to focus, learn, and adapt. While scientists used to believe that beyond a certain age, the brain couldn’t change or grow, we now know that the brain has a quality known as plasticity, enabling it to grow new neurons and transform throughout our lives. Meditation is a powerful tool for awakening new neural connections and even transforming regions of the brain. This means that meditation can help protect against and even reverse cognitive decline. Simply put, meditation is good for the brain and helps promote brain health. Meditation can improve the aging brain and body, which is why at Private Home Health Care we encourage mindfulness and meditation for our clients, their loved ones, within our agency and the community at large.
Meditation helps combat the symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s, and can prevent and delay the onset of this disease. A recent Harvard study found that after only eight weeks of meditation, participants experienced beneficial growth in the brain areas associated with memory, learning, empathy, self-awareness, and stress regulation (the insula, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex). In addition, the meditators reported decreased feelings of anxiety and greater feelings of calm. It is truly one of the greatest tools for brain health and to support the aging brain.
Another wonderful thing about meditation is that it is available to everyone – including the young, elderly, healthy, ill, differently abled, men, women, and from any walk of life. Chances are that you have practiced meditation in your life without knowing it. Have you ever closed your eyes while taking deep breaths, and counting to ten? That is a form of meditation! The beauty and simplicity of meditation is that you don’t need any equipment. All that’s required is a quiet space and a few minutes each day. What is more, there are many different forms of meditation, which means that there is a practice for everyone.
Meditation comes in many forms, including the following:
-Concentration meditation teaches you how to focus your mind. It’s the foundation for other forms of meditation.
-Heart-centered meditation involves quieting the mind and bringing the awareness to the heart, an energy center in the middle of the chest.
-Mindfulness meditation encourages you to focus objectively on negative thoughts as they move through your mind, so you can achieve a state of calm.
-Tai chi and qigong are moving forms of meditation that combine physical exercise with breathing and focus.
-Transcendental Meditation is a well-known technique in which you repeat a mantra—a word, phrase, or sound—to quiet your thoughts and achieve greater awareness.
-Walking meditation turns your focus to both body and mind as you breathe in time with your footsteps.
Like any skill, meditation takes practice. You can start with just one minute a day and build up to twenty, thirty, or even forty minutes. You can even meditate for a minute in the shower. Private Home Health Care encourages you to embrace this simple practice that will bring many benefits to your health, well being, and life.