6 Benefits of Meditation you probably never heard about

According to the Global Organisation for Stress (G.O.S), approximately 442,000 people in Britain alone became ill from stress in 2007/8. The world has picked up pace since then, and the negative consequences are rising. Meditation is one of the greatest medicines when combating a stressful lifestyle, and it doesn’t cost you a cent.

When we see what stress does to our bodies and what it does to our mind, we understand why our entire beings crave the healing that meditation provides. Let us look at the negative effects of stress and how meditation can help transform our beings. 

The mind –

 What stress does:

 When we experience high levels of stress the brain releases a hormone called cortisol. Normally this hormone does not affect the body in any negative way and is actually extremely useful to activate the ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ mode. However, when large amounts of cortisol are released due to continued stress, the brains functionality is seriously disrupted. According to The Touro University, cortisol in these high amounts kills brain cells, reduces the size of the brain and disrupts synapse regulation. The negative effect on the sociability of an individual is seriously affected and in turn causes the individual to become an erratic anxious person.

 How meditation heals:

Mindfulness meditation has been known to decrease high levels of cortisol, healing the brain directly from the harm caused by extreme stress. A study was done on the levels of 30 medical students to see whether this was fact or fiction and the measurements after meditation were drastically different. A far lower level of cortisol was found, and this was only after a single session, imagine what meditation can do for you over a prolonged period of time. The test results and outline can be found here. 

The heart – 

What stress does:

As mentioned earlier, stress directly influences the brain and commands it to release a hormone called cortisol. Not only does this hormone in large doses affect the brain negatively but also the heart. A recent study shows a direct link between stress and cardiovascular disease. They also found that high levels of cortisol in the hair are a direct prediction of an imminent heart attack. The World Health Organisation reports that cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death in the world. In 2015 alone 17,7 million people died of cardiovascular diseases and with the elevated stress levels 2017 may yet show a higher number. 

How meditation heals:

Now that we know that mindfulness meditation drastically lowers the levels of cortisol and in turn heals us, the question is how else can mediation heal the heart? According to Harvard Health, meditation lowers heart rates, release of adrenaline and the intake of oxygen. Meditation also lowers feelings of anxiety and significantly lowers blood pressure. According to cardiologist Dr. Deepak Bhatt, who is also a professor at the Harvard School of Medicine, “Meditation can be a useful part of cardiovascular risk reduction.”  

Your sleep patterns –

What stress does:

 Stress is known to cause hyperarousal which is also one of the main symptoms of PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder. Hyperarousal causes the body to act as though the trauma or stress is a lasting thing. It interrupts your sleep patterns and according to The National Sleep Foundation, usually causes insomnia. Beyond insomnia, stress interrupts your sleep/wake cycle making you feel as though you have not slept at all even though you were asleep the entire evening.

 How meditation heals:

 According to Harvard Health, and a study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal, meditation allows you to draw on a direct feeling of relaxation. This feeling trains the mind to call back on it when it is time to go to sleep, and with the heightened feelings of peace and tranquility experienced in meditation, your night time sleep will be uninterrupted and your daytime will be a vibrant energy-filled experience.

 The ageing process –

What stress does:

 Believe it or not, stress makes you age faster. According to Harvard Health, a study that led to a Nobel Prize showed significant evidence that stress affects the ends of chromosomes called telomeres. These structures inside cells contain the genes. A large amount of stress causes them to shorten faster over time, once short enough, the cell dies. Not only that but people with excessive short telomeres are prone to cancer and heart disease.

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