The following is a guest post from Elaine Clara Mah, Elaine is a Contributing Writer for BookMeditationRetreats.com. She is a firm believer in meditation and sets aside at least an hour a day for silence. Though I certainly don’t have an hour of silence a day – I can apprecaite what she discusses in the post below:
For most people, meditation is a practice to help calm the busy mind. While this is true, we often overlook the other useful benefits that meditation has on our body. So what really happens to the body when one meditates? Our meditators at BookMeditationRetreats.com share with you 5 amazing things that will happen to you when you meditate!
Your Immune System Strengthens
Regular meditation practice will increase your body’s immune system by boosting the presence of antibodies in your bloodstream. This increase in antibodies helps the body better neutralize viruses and bacteria that attack. A study by UCLA showed that HIV positive patients who meditated regularly better maintained their level of CD-4 cells – white blood cells that protect the body from infections – than those who didn’t.
You Improve Your Breathing
As you meditate, you quiet the mind and focus on the breath. This helps you come into the present moment instead of focusing on your challenges and stress. As you focus on your breath, your breathing becomes slower and more regulated. Your resting heart rate also slows down. A slower heart rate and regulated breathing will lower the risk of a great number of diseases including high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. There are many breath-focused meditation practices that you can try out to attain this benefit!
You Get Better Sleep
With the constant stress in our fast-paced world, many of us suffer from insomnia and our lack of sleep has become detrimental to our overall health and well being. Meditation will help you get better sleep as it brings about relaxation, which will enable the body to sleep. Stress inhibits the production of melatonin hormones – a neurochemical that is essential for sleep – making it difficult for us to sleep at night. As meditation brings about relaxation and reduces stress, our bodies will be able to produce melatonin naturally, helping us to get that deep, invigorating slumber we all crave for!
You Actually Want Healthy Food
A big part of meditation is mindfulness and understanding how your body works and what nourishments it needs. When you begin practicing mindfulness, you will slowly see that your mindfulness practice will encompass all aspects of your life, including your diet. Instead of junk food, you will opt for healthier options. As they say “The body is the temple where the soul resides in”.Furthermore, much of our over-eating habits stem from emotional eating. We tend to overindulge when stressed or anxious. Meditation practice calms the mind, allowing it to enter into a state of calm and quiet. Eliminating stress will inadvertently eliminate our unhealthy eating habits, leading to a healthier lifestyle!
Your Outlook on Life Changes for The Better
By being present and focused on the here and the now, you learn to let go of the past and the negative emotions associated with it. You also learn to not worry about the future and all that might be. You start living your life in the now, appreciating and enjoying your environment as it is. Meditation also teaches us to take note of our emotions, and let them come – not suppressing them. While we allow our emotions through, meditation also teaches us to not react extremely to them. It gives us the ability to experience but not grasp onto our emotions.