Are you a type A personality living a workaholic lifestyle? Most of us to some degree are burning the candle at both ends, which certainly increases our odds that our lifestyle includes unhealthy habits. But the research is in and the message is clear. It’s time to add a healthy and fun habit to your daily routine – meditation.
Eastern philosophies have recognized the health benefits of meditation for thousands of years. Meditation lowers blood pressure, strengthens the immune system and delivers an overall improvement in your ability to concentrate. And the best part about meditation, is you don’t need to be a Buddhist monk to experience the many health benefits of meditation.
The studies on the health benefits of meditation are numerous and the benefits proven seem endless as well. In doing our research we ran across one article that stated that long-term meditators experience 80 percent less heart disease and 50 percent less cancer than non-meditators and that females who meditate have an average of 47 percent more DHEA, the youth-related hormone, than those who don’t. This hormone helps heighten memory, lower stress levels, preserve sexual function and maintain weight.
The more we researched the more we wanted to know and here is more of what we found. Studies indicate that meditation:
- Improves both Physical and Emotional Responses to Stress With stress playing a role as a contributing factor in major modern killers – there’s no time like now to get yours under control. A study conducted at the Department of Physiology and Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand found that after meditation, serum cortisol levels were significantly reduced, serum total protein level significantly increased, and systolic pressure, diastolic pressure and pulse rate significantly reduced.
- Improves Concentration Meditation, according to Penn neuroscientist Amishi Jha and Michael Baime, director of Penn’s Stress Management Program, is an active and effortful process that literally changes the way the brain works. Their study is the first to examine how meditation may modify the three subcomponents of attention, including the ability to prioritize and manage tasks and goals, the ability to voluntarily focus on specific information and the ability to stay alert to the environment.
- Decreases Blood Pressure The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 out of 3 American adults have high blood pressure. Having high blood pressure increases one’s chances of developing heart disease, stroke, congestive heart failure and kidney disease. According to a study conducted at the University of Kentucky meditation is an effective treatment for controlling high blood pressure with the added benefit of bypassing possible side effects and hazards of anti-hypertension drugs. The study’s lead author, Dr. James W. Anderson, professor of medicine at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, associated meditation with approximate reductions of 4.7 mm systolic blood pressure and 3.2 mm diastolic blood pressure and said that blood pressure reductions of this magnitude would be expected to be accompanied by significant reductions in risk for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.
As stated previously, the studies and results go on and on and indicate superior benefits from meditation for many conditions and diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), depression, chronic pain, headaches, children with ADHD, and relief with PMS.
So you pick. Which unhealthy habit will you replace with your new healthy one of meditating each day?