This may seem like an odd subject for me to cover, but meditation can be an important part of health. We’ve discussed how there is more to health than just the physical. Wellness is about psychological health as well. How can you consider yourself healthy, when you’re stressed out all the time. We’ve already discussed (Play article) how in today’s society we’re constantly on the go and stressed (look to Thursday and I’ll discuss cortisol). Taking just a few minutes (that’s all it takes) a day can help. Meditation is apart of the lifestyle pyramid that I include in my program booklets and I have it posted on my walls.
Most think of meditation as a religious practice or part of yoga. Meditation can be used in several ways though. You could use meditation for:
- to increase compassion
- spiritual guidance
- greater focus
- or for a relaxed/peaceful mind.
One study showed that those who meditated more had less distress and lower levels of interleukin 6, which is an indicator of cardiovascular disease, Type II diabetes, and some cancers. An article I read on compassion meditation (empathy for those around us) may reduce inflammation and emotional stress. So not only are these studies showing that meditation is emotionally beneficial, but physically as well. Work by Dr. James Austin has shown through functional MRI’s that Zen meditation can rewire the circuitry of the brain. In addition meditation plays a role in metabolism, heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure.
So with mediation you can get all these health benefits, but also feel more relaxed (reduce excess cortisol). How do you meditate? You can try yoga or you can simply sit in a comfortable chair, close your eyes and breathe, repeating a word phrase for around twenty minutes. Just keep repeating the same phrase over and over, if a thought comes just let it pass and keep repeating. If that doesn’t work for you there all kinds of meditation out there, so find the one that works best for you. Try it in the evening though because it will be better for lowering cortisol and will put you in a restful state for sleep (which we’ve already discussed the importance of sleep). What’s twenty minutes before you go to bed, for a more relaxed, healthier you?