The Benefits of Meditation
Although Meditation is portrayed to be a lot of different things and made to look silly in movies, the popularity of meditation is increasing more and more, as more people discover its many health benefits.
In fact Dr Dispenza conducted thousands of brain activity scans at his very own seminars to see what happens when one meditates, and the results where exceptional and supernatural at the least. You can use meditation to heal yourself, increase awareness of yourself and your surroundings. Many use it to reduce stress and develop concentration and some even manifest the life of their dreams. Many others also practice to develop other beneficial habits and feelings, such as a positive mood and outlook, self-discipline, healthy sleep patterns, and even increased pain tolerance.
Below we will talk about the benefits of meditation.
Reduces stress & Anxiety
Stress reduction is one of the most common reasons people try meditation. One review according to Dr Dispenza concluded that meditation lives up to its reputation for stress reduction.
Normally, mental and physical stress cause increased levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. This produces many of the harmful effects of stress, such as the release of inflammatory chemicals called cytokines.
These effects can disrupt sleep, promote depression and anxiety, increase blood pressure, and contribute to fatigue and cloudy thinking.
In an 8-week study, a meditation style called “mindfulness meditation” reduced the inflammation response caused by stress.
Furthermore, research has shown that meditation may also improve symptoms of stress-related conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, and fibromyalgia.
So then, if Meditation reduces stress levels, this translates to less anxiety.
A meta-analysis including nearly 1,300 adults found that meditation may decrease anxiety. Notably, this effect was strongest in those with the highest levels of anxiety.
Also, one study found that 8 weeks of mindfulness meditation helped reduce anxiety symptoms in people with generalized anxiety disorder, along with increasing positive self-statements and improving stress reactivity and coping.
Another study in 47 people with chronic pain found that completing an 8-week meditation program led to noticeable improvements in depression, anxiety, and pain over 1 year.
What’s more, some research suggests that a variety of mindfulness and meditation exercises may reduce anxiety levels. For example, yoga has been shown to help people reduce anxiety. This is likely due to benefits from both meditative practice and physical activity.
Meditation may also help control job-related anxiety. One study found that employees who used a mindfulness meditation app for 8 weeks experienced improved feelings of well-being and decreased distress and job strain, compared with those in a control group.
Some forms of meditation may help you develop a stronger understanding of yourself, helping you grow into your best self.
For example, self-inquiry meditation explicitly aims to help you develop a greater understanding of yourself and how you relate to those around you.
Other forms teach you to recognize thoughts that may be harmful or self-defeating. The idea is that as you gain greater awareness of your thought habits, you can steer them toward more constructive patterns, which may lead to better choices, better habits and a more positive predictable future.
One review of 27 studies showed that practicing tai chi may be associated with improved self-efficacy, which is a term used to describe a person’s belief in their own capacity or ability to overcome challenges.
In another study, 153 adults who used a mindfulness meditation app for 2 weeks experienced reduced feelings of loneliness and increased social contact compared with those in a control group. Additionally, experience in meditation may cultivate more creative problem-solving skills.
May reduce age-related memory loss
Improvements in attention and clarity of thinking may help keep your mind young.
Kirtan Kriya is a method of meditation that combines a mantra or chant with repetitive motion of the fingers to focus your thoughts. Studies in people with age-related memory loss have shown it improves performance on neuropsychological tests. Furthermore, a review found preliminary evidence that multiple meditation styles can increase attention, memory, and mental quickness in older volunteers.
In addition to fighting normal age-related memory loss, meditation can at least partially improve memory in patients with dementia. It can likewise help control stress and improve coping in those caring for family members with dementia.
May help fight addictions
The mental discipline you can develop through meditation may help you break dependencies by increasing your self-control and awareness of triggers for addictive behaviors.
Research has shown that meditation may help people learn to redirect their attention, manage their emotions and impulses, and increase their understanding of the causes behind their addictions, as Dr Dispenza says, bad habits, insecurities and reactive tendencies are the cause of our past traumatic experiences – living in the past is a choice. We must learn to envision the future, feel it emotionally and take the steps to becoming the best version of ourselves using clarity, awareness and our collective consciousness, which meditation helps individuals to do.
One study in 60 people receiving treatment for alcohol use disorder found that practicing transcendental meditation was associated with lower levels of stress, psychological distress, alcohol cravings, and alcohol use after 3 months.
Meditation may also help you control food cravings. A review of 14 studies found mindfulness meditation helped participants reduce emotional and binge eating.
Can decrease blood pressure
Meditation can also improve physical health by reducing strain on the heart.
Over time, high blood pressure makes the heart work harder to pump blood, which can lead to poor heart function.
High blood pressure also contributes to atherosclerosis, or a narrowing of the arteries, which can lead to heart attack and stroke.
A meta-analysis of 12 studies enrolling nearly 1000 participants found that meditation helped reduce blood pressure. This was more effective among older volunteers and those who had higher blood pressure prior to the study.
One review concluded that several types of meditation produced similar improvements in blood pressure.
In part, meditation appears to control blood pressure by relaxing the nerve signals that coordinate heart function, blood vessel tension, and the “fight-or-flight” response that increases alertness in stressful situations.
How do I start to practice meditating?
Reference, Demystifying the Meditation Process. Posted by Dr. Joe Dispenza on May 27, 2016.
If your meditation practice continuously feels like a herculean effort, and you can’t stop thinking, analyzing, and wondering if you’re doing it right, you’re doing the exact opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish. That’s why I want to demystify the meditation process.
The purpose of meditation is to slow down your brain waves and get beyond the thinking, analytical mind. What I want you to understand is that you already know how to do this, because you do it every day.
If you can begin your practice with the understanding that all you’re doing is relaxing your body (just like when you’re falling asleep) while keeping your mind conscious and awake—and if you can continuously move deeper into this state of relaxation while focusing on nothing (or not thinking)—you’ve just opened the doorway between the conscious and subconscious mind.
The Ladder of Consciousness
When the conscious mind is awake and functioning optimally, it exists in the realm of the beta state. But when the brain is in high beta, that means it’s in a highly aroused, overly-active state. This usually indicates someone is living in an emergency mode—otherwise known as fight or flight.
Once you get beyond beta, the first layer of the subconscious is the alpha brain state. In alpha, your breathing naturally slows down, the voice in your head quiets, and the more you continue to relax, the more you begin sliding down the ladder of consciousness into the theta and delta states. It takes relaxing, getting comfortable, and discontinuing thought to change your brain and body’s physiology—and you do this every night as you fall asleep.
The antithesis is also true. When you can’t sleep at night, it’s typically because your mind is racing and you’re processing thoughts about your family, job, health, an upsetting event that happened earlier in the day, and of course—a worst-case future scenario that doesn’t actually exist.
This type of circuitous, negative thinking manufactures corresponding chemicals in the brain that signal the body to feel emotionally. Once we feel those emotions like frustration, judgement, fear, or anger, we tend to think more thoughts equal to those self-limiting emotions. When this happens over and over, our body becomes addicted to these emotional states, and thus becomes addicted to the hormones of stress—further miring us in negative feedback loops. As a result, instead of sinking deeper into consciousness, our brain waves climb the ladder to higher levels of beta brain wave activity. In fact, this is where we enter the realm of high beta brain waves and now the analytical mind is now overly active.
It’s through our meditation practice that we can enter the subconscious and change our unwanted programs. Think of the subconscious as the brain’s operating system. By dropping into the operating system of the brain, we can alter habits, behaviors, and remove emotional scars. If you’re not trying to change anything, you can simply open yourself up to receiving unknown possibilities and create something new.
Body Asleep, Mind Awake
Look at it this way—falling asleep and waking up is not something we have to learn how to do, right? We do it every day.
These two times of the day are when the door to the subconscious mind naturally opens up. When we go to bed at night, the nighttime neurotransmitter melatonin makes our brain waves go from beta to alpha, from alpha to theta, and from theta to delta. When we wake up in the morning, serotonin—the daytime neurotransmitter—creates the same process in reverse; our brain waves go from delta to theta, from theta to alpha, and from alpha to beta.
As we close our eyes and begin the meditation process, it makes sense that we are changing our brain chemistry from serotonin to melatonin, and thus our brain waves follow suit. As we sit still and relax our body, we stop thinking because our brain is naturally processing less sensory information.
If we can allow our bodies to begin to fall asleep while we are aware of our inner world, we’re in the perfect state to begin our transformational and/or creative work. Just like it’s harder to fall asleep when the neighbor is mowing his lawn, your teenager is playing hip-hop music in the next room, or there’s coffee brewing in the kitchen—it’s harder to get into that meditative state because the external sensory information keeps us focused on our outer world, instead of our inner.
Like riding a bike or playing tennis, what I want you to understand is relaxing the body yet staying conscious is just a skill to develop (there’s a reason why we call mediation a practice). When you can completely relax your body and remain conscious, this is the realm where the unknown and the mystical happens.
By sensing the vastness of space around you and becoming no body, no one, no thing, no where, in no time—your body, other people, things in your environment, and past and future events no longer become the object of your attention. You (as consciousness—not the body) are no longer picking up the sensory information around you, which means you’re no longer living by the hormones of stress. In this state, you’re not awake, you’re not sleeping, and you’re not dreaming; you’re in the transcendental state. This is the unknown realm and this is where the door opens to events like out-of-body experiences, spontaneous healings, and mystical moments.
So the next time you sit down to meditate, I want you to remember that you already know how to do this. Slow down the process and really feel in each one of those stages. Stay aware, expand into the future you’ve always wanted, and connect to the feelings of that new future.
Know that the life you’ve always wanted to live awaits you. You just have to make the journey.
– Dr Dispenza.
For guided meditation, we would recommend watching Dr Dispenza’s guided meditation on YouTube.
We hope you enjoyed this article, please share and comment your thoughts or how meditation has helped you.