Ten scientifically proven facts on meditation
1 Meditation has an effect on physical ailments
This has been recognised for thousands of years in Eastern medicinal practises but now mediation has been scientifically proven to have beneficial effects on physical ailments including everything from pain, high blood-pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, viruses, gastro-intestinal problems such as ulcers and constipation, infertility, PMS, side effects from cancer and AIDS and much, much more.
2 Meditation helps to fight off colds and flu
By boosting the body’s immune system and decreasing the effects of stress, studies have shown a 40-50% reduction in respiratory infections in people prone to colds and flu that practise regular meditation. Compare this to flu vaccinations which only protect at about 50-60% of just a few strains of the virus and also have a catalogue of nasty adverse events, precautions and contraindications, meditation looks to be a much safer preventative measure with the side effects being decreased stress, improved mood and relaxation!
3 Meditation within the NHS
Meditation is now a common referral within the NHS for mental health related issues including anxiety and depression, and also for stress-related physical ailments, reducing the need for medication and the side-effects that these may have.
4 Meditation in schools
Ground-breaking research has been taking place with regards to the benefits of meditation being introduced into schools. By taking part in "Quiet Time" (10-15 minutes of silent seated meditation) reducing stress and promoting learning readiness among students has shown to be improvement in test scores and graduation numbers, 86% reduction in suspensions, 40% reduction in psychological distress including anxiety and depression and 65% decrease in violent conflicts in schools that previously had these problems among it's students. Compassion-based meditation is also used to create better cohesion among students, reducing the chance of bullying and increasing awareness of the feelings of others.
5 Meditation for enhanced relationships
An increased feeling of social connection and emotional intelligence is a well-known benefit of meditation - and not just from the social aspect of meeting up in groups to meditate! As well as becoming more comfortable with yourself (which helps others to be more comfortable with you!) a feeling of "Interconnectedness" has been acknowledged in practitioners of meditation which extends further than a recognition within the conscious mind. Mediation has an effect on the way that we behave and relate to each other, becoming accepting and comfortable with those around us as well as with ourselves.
6 Meditation for increased creativity
Many artists, be it painters, musicians, performers or craftspersons often report being "in the zone" or "flow state" when they create their work. Meditation offers a route to bypass the logical, analytical mind and access this state of being- your natural intuition and boundless creative energy that is tucked away within each and all of us, not just found in 'artists'.
7 Mediation improves your sex life
Not only by simply reducing stress (top passion-killer), meditation stimulates the areas of the brain associated with production of 'feel-good' hormones, edorphins, serotonin, dopamine and melatonin, increasing feelings of love, compassion and understanding of yourself as well as your partner. Add to that the ability to remove distracting thoughts and 'be in the moment', increased circulation, blood flow and balancing sex drive hormone DHEA, regular meditators find it much easier to get, and stay, 'in the mood'.
8 Meditation increases productivity at work
More and more national and multinational businesses, corporations and organisations are applying meditative techniques within their workforces. Companies such as Apple, Google, First Direct, Nike and Yahoo have launched stress-reduction initiatives leading to employees feeling fully present on the job, making better decisions and having a positive effect on team relations as well as becoming more effective as a leader for managers. Maintaining attention, focus, intuition and clarity of thought increases with regular practise of meditation in the workplace.
9 Can help kick addictions
From smoking to over-eating to negative thinking to unhelpful behaviours, alcohol abuse and addiction to prescription and un-prescribed drugs, meditation is used within many rehabilitation programs throughout the world. Neuroscientists have proven that meditation causes physical changes and increased blood flow to the areas of the brain that deal with self-control.
10 And finally, ten myths about meditation!
1 You need to "empty your mind" - personally I have never actually come across any real meditation technique that instructs you to do this!
2 You have to sit on the floor in lotus position - Meditation can be done seated on a chair, sitting up in bed, reclining on a park bench or even walking or dancing!
3 You don't have time - meditation relieves fatigue and increases concentration and focus, you will find that 20 minute's meditation in your tea break will give you hours more productivity with increased focus and efficiency.
4 Meditation is religious - meditation of course is practised in many religions but the act of meditating is not religious, it is about giving your mind time to rest and reboot.
5 You have to sit still for an hour at least - nope, 20 minutes a day if you can, or even meditate while taking a walk or doing activities such as yoga or Tai Chi.
6 I tried it and it didn't work for me - there are 100s of techniques of meditation, not all involve the practises that you tried. There is definitely one to suit you, talk to someone who has experience in different styles of meditation to hear about the differing effects.
7 It makes you feel worse - you may feel a bit fidgety and anxious at the start of your practise but this is just your mind and body releasing stress (which is the point isn't it!). Some yoga or a breathing exercises before you begin to meditate can ease this.
8 It's about chanting in an ancient foreign language - yes, this is required in somepractises of meditation, but there are many, many more that do not require you to understand Sansrkit!
9 You have to wear beads and a blanket wrapped around you - not unless you want to! All you need is to be comfortable.
10 People who meditate are a bit weird - well, yes as with anything in life some may be! But take into consideration that the NHS, schools, the military and large multinational businesses such as Apple, Google and Nike are applying meditative techniques within their workforces and it starts to seem less weird and more common sense.å