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Benefits of Meditation and Why you should start meditating

Meditation has been around since Ancient History and has been widely used by Monks, Martial Artists, CEO, Wellness and Lifestyle enthusiasts all over the world, and it's no wonder when you consider the benefits that meditation offers.

1. Mindfulness

Mindfulness has been in the news more and more recently as people from doctors to scientists to regular people like us start to uncover the enormous benefits. So… what is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a state of being of paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally, to the unfolding of experiences moment to moment. When we are mindful, we are taking in the world around us as fully as we can. We keep moving forward with our breakfast, our workout, our day – but instead of doing it mindlessly, suddenly we are present in the “now.” We have to practice mindfulness because it’s so easy to get lost in the chatter of the mind. Our days can become a whirlwind and disappear before we even know what we did or when we decided to do it.

So then, we can look at it this way: mindfulness is the way of living, and meditation is the practice. There is no goal, no place to get to. We are where we are. Mindfulness is a state you can be in all day long, as you eat lunch, walk home from work, wait in a line at the grocery store. Meditation is what helps us to nurture and cultivate mindfulness, that deeper connection to the present.

2. Reduce Stress

It’s a little-known secret that Wall Street Executives, Famous Artists, and Silicon Valley tech junkies are some of the biggest advocates of meditation as a way to manage stress.

A 2005 study at Harvard Medical School found that meditating increases the thickness of your prefrontal cortex, the area of your brain associated with attention and self-awareness.

Furthermore, we now know it even reduces employee stress and burnout. A study on teachers who attended a mindfulness training program and practiced daily meditation for 8 weeks showed reduced symptoms of burnout and teachers confirmed that the training was beneficial for both the students and themselves.

3. Get Better Sleep

Sleep isn’t just eight hours a day of relaxation – it’s been proven to play a critical role in immune function, metabolism, memory, learning, and other vital functions. Some studies confirm that meditating gives you all sorts of benefits like sleeping longer, waking up feeling refreshed, and feeling more positive in the morning.

Turns out meditation can even help serious sleep problems. Researchers wanted to see if mindfulness meditation would benefit those struggling with chronic insomnia. After eight weeks, those in the meditation training had less total wake time during the night, were more relaxed before going to bed, and reduced the severity of their sleep problems. Plus, in a follow up six months later, the insomnia sufferers had maintained a better quality of sleep.

4. Fight Anxiety

When we focus on all the terrible things that might happen to us, it takes us away from the present, and causes our bodies a lot of stress. Often times, we overthink and many of the fearful thoughts might not even happen in reality.

Dr. Elizabeth Hoge, a psychiatrist and assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, found that meditating could even help those with generalized anxiety disorder, a condition marked by hard-to-control worries, poor sleep, and irritability.

5. Relax Better

Relaxing your body and mind with meditation helps you to stay centered when you inevitably encounter those everyday stress – rush hour traffic, assignments, work and clients?

Investigators from the Benson-Henry Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital found that practicing meditation causes what is called the “relaxation response”, the opposite of the “fight-or-flight” response that happens to our bodies when we get stressed. Their studies showed that the relaxation response alleviates anxiety and also has positive effects on heart rate, blood pressure, and brain activity.

6. Promote Healing

Recently, there's been researchers looking at how the brain might be involved with meditation. When researchers had people participate in four days of mindfulness-based training, participants reported less pain intensity and unpleasantness. What’s more, MRI showed reductions in pain-induced cerebral blood flow during meditation sessions.

Which means, your pain tolerance increased from meditation and it can actually boost your immune system and promote greater healing capability.

7. Happy Pills

Meditating helps us gain awareness of our minds, so we can be aware of all the negative thoughts and counter it with positive affirmations. Becoming less identified with our emotions and thoughts helps those thoughts lose power.

A Harvard study found that mind-wandering – which often means drifting to these negative thoughts – was linked to unhappiness. Researchers has also identified that for 10 to 20 percent of depressive symptoms can be improved through meditations as compared to the placebo groups. This is similar to the effects of antidepressants in similar populations.

8. For Successful Life

Research shows that with meditation, world-class athletes, top managers and world-class performers, when tested, have all shown high levels of what’s called brain integration. This means that their brains are wired with strong connections between the different areas, they have heightened attention, and they’re able to think quickly to deal with problems.

This is the new key to success, because it’s the fire starter behind the creativity that often leads to success.

Luckily, a study from Harvard Medical School demonstrated that meditating causes changes in brain waves that actually improve the brain’s functionality.

Give meditation a try, and experience the benefits for yourself. If you are looking to pick up meditation,

this series of health and wellness series is brought to you with the courtesy of information from www.breeze.com - which provides the easiest way to meditate.

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