People that practice meditation on a regular basis liken it to a workout for the mind: whereas physical exercise strengthens the muscles and body, meditation does the same, and a lot more, for the mind. This form of quiet mental activity is practised today by millions of individuals from all walks of life the world over. Below are some questions and answers about health and meditation newcomers and sceptics of the practice may have.
The simple motivation behind the practice is because it delivers highly effective results. For instance, it calms wayward moods, stops the mind from engaging in incessant mental activity, and reduces stress levels. In addition, regular practice inspires creativity, and makes people feel more efficient overall.
This ancient form of mental training benefits both human psychology and physiology. Many individuals have discovered that through regular, daily practice, it can help lift depression, reduce anxiety, improve confidence levels, lessen addiction, and also sharpen focus and concentration. Medical practitioners that partake in daily meditation, and that are aware of the benefits, recommend that patients do the same to help reduce blood pressure, or even to stimulate healthier and faster cell growth, for example.
Two popular forms of this kind of mental workout are mindful meditation, and transcendental meditation, or TM. The popularity of the former has grown rapidly in the western world over the last decade or two, since it is easy to learn, and very efficient. In essence, it teaches the practitioner to learn to become more aware of the present moment, and to consciously forsake dwelling on the past, or worry about the future.
Today, millions of dollars are being poured into medical and psychiatric research projects to further explore the physical and emotional advantages mindfulness meditation offers those that practice it. The studies are motivated by heaps of positive results from research that show it helps to cure sleeplessness, alleviate chronic pain, and even prevent binge eating, among other things. Moreover, it proves to be excellent in boosting the immune system, and make people highly resilient to daily emotional stress-inducing factors.
Both TM and mindfulness sessions, when engaged in on a regular basis, produce increasingly deeper, profound states of relaxation. This has many positive consequences for the body, including reducing the risk of heart complications. For example, TM helps to open up blood vessels, and prevents the coronary arteries from hardening and thickening with age.
One of the peculiar, yet amazing, aspects to mindfulness meditation is that it teaches people to learn to relate differently to habitual, negative thought patterns. Usually, people will try to deny, or suppress, self-defeating thoughts in an attempt to control these. Individuals that suffer intermittent or chronic anxiety, which is stimulated and maintained by habitual, worrisome thoughts, are prone to such denials and counterproductive thought-control.
Instead, one learns to recognize that all thoughts, though experienced as negative or positive, are simply thoughts. Hence, negative thoughts lose their power over the mind when these are related to as mere fluctuating thoughts. Rather than getting emotionally caught up in thinking, men and women learn to let go of much useless mental activity.