Hello, it’s your friendly doctor on radio, here again grazing the pages of this article to enlighten you yet again about the essential benefits of being a health iterate. Today, its all about the almighty MEDITATION.
Now meditation to the average African is often related to a form of religion like Buddhism or Hinduism and because this simple notion most people shy away from the idea. Another group of people think it is too risky and opens the mind up to some form of diabolical invasion. Now, though the notion of meditation being from a Buddhist origin is correct, it has under gone a form of metamorphosis if you will or modern evolution where the scientifically proven benefits of this exercise is now being harvested for the prom option of mental health an d wellbeing.
When I discovered the art of medication and the practice of complete awareness about 2 years earlier, I sincerely asked myself this question, “How have I been living my life all this while?” We get completely absorbed in our day to day activities thinking about what we are going to do next or planning the next day or dreading a mishap that will probably never occur or even regretting something we never did or did poorly. The battle of the mind goes on and on robbing us of the present and leaving us completely unaware of the “PRESENT”. Have you ever been in a car, driving yourself or probably being driven by someone else and when you arrive at your destination, you ask yourself “Wow! I’m here already?” or “How did we get here?” because you were completely absorbed in your thoughts while unconsciously allowing the present sip through your fingers. This is totally unacceptable. Meditation gives us that ability to slam the breaks and literally, take a breather and believe me the benefits is enormous.
Here are a few of those scientific facts and a few tips on how to get you started.
“Meditation is a technique of mental focusing for enhanced awareness and self mastery….” Professor Mark W. Muesse.
1. Increases Happiness and Health:
Research shows that meditation increases positive emotions, increases life satisfaction, boosts your immune function, decreases your perception of pain and decreases inflammation. One study, published in 2008 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, showed that 40 of 60 high blood pressure patients who started meditating could stop taking their blood pressure medication. I said “could” take note.
2. Makes you super focused
MRI research has shown that meditation boosts memory and attention. This is evidenced by the thickness of the cortex of the brain, which is the part related to introspection and attention.
3. Lowers your chances of being depressed
Because meditation improves your ability to regulate your emotions, it gives you self-control and helps decreases anxiety, stress and depression.
4. Become wiser and more perceptive
Research shows that people that meditate show more keen insight than those who do not. It also gives you the ability to multitask.
5. Makes you more compassionate and caring
Meditation increases your sense f connection to others. It makes you fell less lonely and increases social connection and emotional intelligence.
How do I start;
1. Take a few minutes a day.
You don’t have to stay for hours in a locust position staying into space or chanting a foreign language. Just get take out the time to literally take a breather. 10 -15 breathers at intervals throughout the day and remember to keep your mind clear of distraction by focusing on something simple like your breathing and how you body feels or a meditation sound track (you can easily download those on line).
2. Get informed:
Thank goodness for the Audible app. One of the most helpful books I found that helped me on my journey of awareness or meditation is ‘Practicing Mindfulness: An introduction to meditation by Professor Mark W. Muesse. CNN’s Anderson Cooper also talked about the benefits of meditation after he was introduced to him through reading a book by Jon Kabat-Zinn called “Whereever you go there you are”. He confirmed how more focused he now is and how meditation has increased his productivity and lowered his stress levels. I also find youtube videos by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche very inspiring. Just subscribe and watch out for more of his modern interpretation of medication for today’s active mind.
3. Try yoga
Some people feel more motivated when they join a group and they are many gyms and health centers offering this service today. Here you perform a series of postures and controlled breathing exercises to promote a more flexible body and a calm mind. As you move through poses that require balance and concentration, you’re encouraged to focus less on your busy day and more on the moment.
Regardless of what ever method you choose the benefits of mediation is definitely a step up for anyone living having a hectic work schedule, living with a health condition or anyone that just wants to be healthy. One thing is for sure, you do feel the difference as you learn how to live fully in the moment and reduce anxiety, achieve inner peace, and enrich the quality of your life. Till my next article, take care and always remember to get health smart.
Research: Focused on studies done over 20 scientifically based researches done by Emma Seppala an Associate Director at the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford University.
Dr. Offiah Juliet (Dr. Julz) is a medical doctor with qualifications in HSE and a passion in health literacy. She is an award winning radio and TV show host, writer and philanthropist. Catch her Tuesdays by 11am on Nigeria info 99.3FM. Read more about her on www.drjulz.com. Twitter: @doctorjulz; IG: @officialdoctorjulz; facebook:www.facebook.com/doctorjulz.