52 Reasons Why
I learned to meditate as a teenager .. so, from my own personal experience, I can confidently confirm that there are way more than 52 reasons why you should meditate!
Meditation is an ancient practice that humans have been practicing .. for thousands of years. Humans are generally smart enough to know when they are on a good thing, so after experiencing some of the benefits of meditation, the practices have been shared, tested, recommended, lauded, challenged .. and practiced since forever. In fact, the oldest documented evidence of meditation is said to be wall arts in the Indian subcontinent dating from approximately 5,000 to 3,500 BCE.
And then, along came the Western version of Mindfulness and there is now a significant body of scientific research that further supports the practice of meditation .. for a range of physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits.
But. I already know why meditation is such a powerful and profound practice .. because I have my own data from 30+ years of meditation.
However, I do try to keep abreast of the research and media interest in meditation and mindfulness, and this year – 2021 – I have committed to reviewing more of the many papers that pass through my inbox, and I thought I would share some of the top reasons to meditate in a new weekly post
52 REASONS WHY .. YOU SHOULD MEDITATE
One of the most common reasons that people seek out meditation – is for stress reduction.
A 2012 study by Lifeline Australia found that 91% of adult Australians identified stress in one key area of their life, and 41% had experienced an unhealthy level of stress in their life. And, in the United
#1 To Reduce Stress
Meditation is the only activity known to reduce blood lactate a marker of stress and anxiety, also increasing levels of melatonin (a hormone that supports our immune system and regulates sleep cycles) and feel-good hormones like endorphins and serotonin.
Research has shown that those who practice meditation regularly begin to experience changes in their response to stress that allow them to recover from stressful situations more easily and experience less stress from the challenges they face in their everyday lives.
One study led by a Georgetown University Medical Center (pub.2017) found objective physiological evidence that mindfulness meditation combats anxiety. Researchers found that anxiety disorder patients had sharply reduced stress-hormone and inflammatory responses to a stressful situation after taking a mindfulness meditation course, whereas patients who took a non-meditation stress management course had worsened responses.
Researchers also reviewed more than 200 studies of mindfulness among healthy people and found mindfulness-based therapy was especially effective for reducing stress, anxiety
A collaborative study between the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and a team of scientists from the University of North Texas completed a systematic study that quantified stress and how much stress changes as a direct result of meditation. Comparing two schools of meditation researchers determined that Yoga, over Chi meditation, is more effective in reducing stress and they could show by how much. “They also found that the long-term practice of meditation has the effect of making permanent the meditation-induced physiologic changes. Moreover that meditators show a stronger executive control, that is, the ability to carry out goal-oriented behavior, using complex mental processes and cognitive abilities.
And, research published in Experimental Biology 2018 suggests that people can begin to derive psychological and physiological benefits from the practice after a single introductory session. “Our results show a clear reduction in anxiety in the first hour after the meditation session, and our preliminary results suggest that anxiety was significantly lower one week after the meditation session,” said lead study author John J. Durocher, PhD, an assistant professor of physiology in the department of biological sciences at Michigan Technological University. “Participants also had reduced mechanical stress on their arteries an hour after the session. This could help to reduce stress on organs like the brain and kidneys and help prevent conditions such as high blood pressure.”
STRESS RELEASE MINI-PRACTICE:
Sit or lie down comfortably.
Close your eyes if that feels restful.
Observe how your body feels (soft, hard, energized, fatigued)
Observe how your breath feels (fast, slow, ragged, jumpy, light)
(Breathing is through your nose)
INHALE for the silent count of 1 – 2 – 3 – 4
EXHALE for the silent count of 1 – 2 -3 – 4
When this rhythm feels easy and effortless, you can gently extend to the count of 6, and then with practice to 8 counts per breath.
To finish, stop counting and simply rest with your natural rhythm of breath for a few breaths (or as long as you have available and are comfortable
Return to your day.
“My secret? I meditate!”
Sarah, Quiet Mind Meditation
If you would like to start meditating: I have some online options over HERE or email me firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like me to tailor a corporate session to suit your team.