You may have heard by now how meditation is finding its way into the lives of people in search of tranquility, peace of mind and a life with less stress in it. Meditation doesn’t only have a spiritual benefit, but a worldly benefit as well. Meditation is one of the more important aspects of a successful lifestyle. Meditation has been around for thousands of years and just recently have scientists started to see the benefits for so many aspects of life that affect both body and mind. Multiple studies have shown that meditation can help reduce levels of depression and anxiety, if and when exposed to external influences. Anxiety and depression can place an individual in a state where physicians and psychologists could get involved if not treated early on.
Islam has a history of meditation as well. It is known that the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), used to spend hours on Mt. Noor away from society contemplating the situation Makkah was in at that time, this was his form of meditation.
Here are some reasons why meditation should be incorporated into our lives:
Meditation calms the mind
Stress reduction is the key to meditation’s beneficial effect on the health of your brain. It’s not only a healthy diet full of vitamins that keeps the brain running smoothly, it’s external as well. We are very busy people and our lives are filled with distractions and stressors, we tend to get carried away by negative external influences but if and when you learn how to meditate a few minutes a day, the brain unwinds and pushes away stressors. With a clear mind, it can find positive solutions to distractions and problems that arise as an example.
Lowers high blood pressure
According to the American Heart Association, stress is the body’s natural alarm system releasing adrenaline that causes acceleration in your breathing, quickening of the heart rate and rise of blood pressure. A study in 2012 showed African-Americans with heart disease who practiced Transcendental Meditation regularly were 48 percent less likely to have a heart attack or stroke compared to African-Americans who attended a health education class for over five years.
Relaxation and rejuvenation of the mind and body
Not all medication is sitting down and listening to your breathing or calm music of nature. There’s Tai Chi for example, a type of meditation using your body to move in slow and gentle movements reaching certain positions that require balance and concentration. Praying in Islam is a form of meditation with certain movements that also help the body positively, better posture, straightening of the back and easing of tense muscles on legs and feet as well.
Balances the body system
There is scientific evidence resulting from MRI scans of people who are meditating at the time, there was a significant increase in activity areas that control metabolism and heart rate. Meditation also reduces both the experience of pain and manages stress resulting from having pain.
Helps individuals with chronic pain
Acute pain is easily explained as getting an injury or surgery, time passes and it is healed, chronic is when the pain doesn’t go away. With chronic pain, the mental processes can alter sensory phenomena, leading to depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and a heightened awareness of the body. How? With meditation it’s possible that the pain intensity is lowered, the cycles of pain escalation can be moderated and the pain can be less intrusive on one’s life. It’s taking control of the pain and emotions that is vital.
How do you know if meditation is working? It is when you get feelings of a calm and steady heaviness, while feeling warm and light at the same time, sounds are lowered and the body is falling into pre-sleep phase of clarity. There are many types of meditation such as yoga, zen meditation, transcendental meditation, repetitive prayer, mindfulness meditation, guided meditations and so on. Many physicians recommend to their patients the importance of not over stressing and trying to relax. Meditation and its types can help in more ways than we can ever know. Check out your nearest fitness center and ask about the types of classes available that include meditation. The power to change is in you alone, meditation is only a means to help you do that.