Mindfulness meditation is growing exponentially in Western medicine practices and all over the United States. It’s no longer a technique practiced solely by yogis and Buddhists. Meditation is used in corporate offices, by professional athletes, in hospitals, and by all different backgrounds of people with an interest in improving their health and overall quality of life. So why meditation? Because it works! Those Buddhist monks were onto something 5,000 years ago. Research shows that meditation has been found to positively impact our body, our mind, and our emotional well-being.
Improves immune system
lowers blood pressure
Improves functioning of the heart and the brain
Turns on the rest & digest nervous system
Increases energy level
Improves attention span
Increases memory retention
Promotes creative thinking
Improves mood and optimistic thinking
Decreases stress and anxiety
Increases self-esteem and self-acceptance
Calms and soothes the mind
Beyond generally helping a person’s body, mind, and emotional well-being is mindfulness meditations most impressive attribute… It can change the structure of our brain.
We can think of our brains as having superhighways of habit in response to different experiences. When we meditate, these highway systems become rewired. The habits that we’ve become accustomed to over decades begin to fade away and are replaced with new, more healthful habits. The physical structure of our brain changes and the way that we think and react is altered. The experiences that use to send our brains into a tizzy no longer have control over us. Meditation gives us space for a compassionate pause between the stimuli and our reaction. Furthermore, a Harvard study found that meditation has an effect on our genes. When the body is able to achieve a relaxed meditative state, our expression of genes involved in inflammation decreases and our gene expression related to longevity increases.
Scientists agree that meditation is the best way to upgrade the human brain. The practice not only positively impacts our body, mind, and emotional well-being, but it literally changes the way that we think and perceive our surroundings. After all, when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.