Evidence has grown that shows meditation can make you healthier and happier. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is sometimes used to treat depression, and brain-imaging technology suggests meditation actually changes your brain in many beneficial ways.
A study was done that looked at 50 long-term meditators and 50 control subjects between the ages of 24 and 77. Advancing age correlated with a loss of brain volume, as expected, among the controls. It was found that those who meditated suffered less age-related brain atrophy. This was reported by GMA News.
Caffeine and meditation have similarities of the effect of energizing you and boosting your productivity, but meditation accomplishes this without the adverse effects associated with caffeine.
Caffeine stimulates more neural activity in your brain, which triggers your adrenal glands to release the stress chemical adrenaline. While remaining in a chronic state of “fight or flight”, adrenaline engenders can lead to any number of stress-related disorders. On the other hand, meditation energizes you and makes you more productive without triggering an adrenaline rush and provides your body with rest that is two to five times deeper than sleep. Actually, meditating for 20 minutes also equates to taking a 1.5 hour nap without that “sleep hangover” afterward. You will feel awake and refreshed and more conscious.
Meditation Has Anti-inflammatory Effects
If you take the time to meditate it can actually help you gain more time through boosted productivity than what you put into it. Meditation impacts your biology and physical health through stress reduction pathways in your brain. Meditation can help to relieve stress-related diseases such as high blood pressure, chronic pain, headaches, sleep disturbances and fatigue, gastrointestinal distress and irritable bowel syndrome, skin disorders, mild depression and premenstrual syndrome. Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine has sought to quantify the benefits of the relaxation response by assessing gene expression before and after meditation, and compared the effects of short and long-term meditation routines. In their findings they discovered that meditation has anti-inflammatory effects.
Two Styles Of Meditation
The two styles of meditation are mindfulness, which is a directed-attention, waking state where you keep bringing your attention back to now, and self-induced transcendence, a non-directed style of meditation, where you access a 4th state of consciousness different from walking, sleeping and dreaming.
Using a fitness tracker can significantly improve the quality of your sleep and can gauge your progress. The biggest challenge is to know if you are meditating correctly. Muse plays an important role as it provides you real-time feedback on how well you are doing. Using your smart phone or tablet you can get a personal tutor to guide you on how to meditate. An audio feedback consists of waves and wind. The goal is to calm your mind so there is the least amount of sound. Meditating provides many of the same benefits of sleep and if you are unable to fall back to sleep, this is a great option.