Meditation – if you have ever tried it you know it is damn hard to do! In our world today we, and our minds, are constantly on the go, jumping from one thought to another at a rapid pace. But meditation, just like any other habit, gets easier with practice.
As you know, healing our bodies is not a straightforward process. The path to health is filled with both peaks and troughs. There are no miracle pills or silver bullets. Our bodies are extremely complex and problems are more often than not, interconnected, meaning trying to address each layer of an illness can be very complicated and tricky. Because of this, and the long lists of benefits, I incorporate mediation into my wellness plan.
Meditation is beneficial for everyone – not just us suffering from chronic diseases. When we meditate, the information processing activity of our brains changes.
As the pathways in our brains change through meditation, we experience numerous health benefits. These include:
- Less Anxiety
As we meditate, the neural pathways in our medial prefrontal cortex (the section related to information about ourselves and our experiences) weaken and those in our assessment centre (the area we rely on for rational thinking) strengthen. Therefore, when we are faced with an experience that would usually trigger a strong reaction, we are able to look at this situation in a more rational way and react in a more appropriate matter.
- Better Memory
Meditation can help with improving our rapid memory recall. Through meditation, our brain waves adjust to help blank out distractions, allowing us to focus more on the activity we are doing and rapidly incorporate and remember the experience.
- Less Stress
As stress and inflammation go hand in hand, anything that can reduce stress is helpful for anyone suffering from autoimmune diseases. When we meditate the levels of the stress hormone cortisol are reduced, meaning we are not in a constant ‘fight or flight’ mode. This leads to a decrease in our stress levels.
- More Grey Matter
Without getting too technical, meditation can lead to larger volumes of grey matter in our hippocampus. I bet you’re thinking ‘wow, grey matter…why should I care about that?’. Well grey matter plays a significant role in our central nervous system. By increasing the volume of this, we can protect our positive neural pathways and prevent the decline of our cognitive abilities.
As I mentioned, meditation is difficult, during the day I find it very hard to calm my mind. Because of this, I have been using guided meditation for 2 years to help ease my thoughts.
Guided meditation helps to reduce the noise in my mind and focus on only the recording. The advantage of starting with guided meditation is that you can pop in your headphones and press play where ever you are – I especially like the bus commute as an opportunity to calm my mind and block out the talk of other commuters.