How Meditation Can Transform Your Life
The effects of a regular meditation practice reach far beyond the direct vicinity of your zafu. These are 8 benefits all meditation techniques have in common.
There are countless meditation techniques out there, each with their own unique purpose, history and challenges. From Vipassana to yoga and from breathing controls to Orgasmic Meditation, the choice of techniques out there is endless and it’s a good idea to try at least a few to find out which ones work best for you.
Preferences aside, there are certain benefits that all meditation techniques have in common, regardless of their specific practices. If you want to transform your life through stillness, these are the effects you can expect:
… And we could all do with a bit less of it, as judged by the increase in anxiety medication that’s being sold over the counter. When sitting down to do your practice on a regular basis, your brain will produce less cortisol, which is the ‘fight or flight’ hormone which we experience as stress. Furthermore, meditation allows us to regain control over our own emotions and nervous system by creating neurological pathways which help us centre ourselves in the here and now and come back into our bodies when stress threatens to take over.
Practitioners all over the world report that taking the time to sit down in the here and now has encouraged them to take better care of themselves. You’ll see that the discipline that comes with regularly employing meditation techniques will make you more inclined to nourish your body as well as your mind – which means more appetite for healthy food, less appetite for cigarettes and alcohol and artificial flavours.
A study by the journal Psychological Science, led by Katherine MacLean of the University of California, saw 60 participants sign up to a 3-month retreat during which they would spend at least 5 hours a day practicing meditation techniques. Before, during and after the retreat their mental performance was tested by means of a boring test which required the participants to focus intensely. Those who had been investing in regular training turned out to score much higher on the concentration front – something which you can also achieve by committing to your practice.
We all know that meditation is relaxing… but relaxing has actual cardiovascular benefits to it as well! It is known to increase the compound nitric oxide, which causes our blood vessels to open and, consequently, our blood pressure to drop.
Meditation puts you on the fast track to being happy. Studies show that it increases brain activity in the left part of the brain’s prefrontal cortex – a centre which is associated with positive emotions – whilst decreasing activity in the right side of the prefrontal cortex – which causes us to feel negative emotions. And on top of all the other benefits it brings you… what more is there to want?
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Juliette Karaman-van Schaardenburg is a director at TurnOn Britain and a qualified OneTaste coach and Orgasmic Meditation trainer. She works with both couples and singles, teaching them meditation techniques that help them tune into their body and intuition.