While most people associate meditation with religion, this simple and powerful practiced transcends religious beliefs. Meditation is like a short vacation away from the stresses of everyday life to allow you to center your mind and create a peaceful feeling. And, the research is showing that meditation is great for your health.
In one study published in Health Behavior News Service, scientists found that brain scans and blood tests showed positive effects of meditation. In this study of 48 employees at a biotechnology company, half were trained in meditation and practiced it for one hour a day, six days a week using guided meditations that had been prerecorded. The other half of the participants did not meditate. Dr. Richard J. Davidson at the University of Wisconsin found that the meditators had greater electrical activity in their brains than the non-meditators. Some of the effects of meditation continued for up to four months after the participants discontinued their meditative practice.
Other research shows improvements in mood, pain threshold, immune system activity, and bronchial and arterial smooth muscle tone. The studies also show a decrease in stress hormones and a reversal in the effects of chronic stress.
Daily practice offers the greatest benefits. Over time it becomes easier. By meditating on a regular basis you can train your mind to relax and release stress.
There are several ways to meditate: breathing meditation, walking meditation, sitting meditation, mindfulness meditation, guided meditation, and visualization. Choose the type that has the most appeal for you and best fits with your lifestyle and health goals.
Breathing meditation is one of the easiest and most convenient forms of meditation. It can be done anywhere at almost any time, even if you only have several minutes. It requires no special equipment other than your lungs.