Rx: Meditate, Say Two Oms, And Call Me In The Morning
Imagine the day when you leave your doctor’s office with prescriptions for not only medications but for meditation as well. This scenario is not as far-fetched as it may seem. In fact, at numerous medical centers this is exactly what is transpiring. As mind-body therapies are gaining wider acceptance in mainstream medicine, more and more physicians are including meditation as a complementary treatment for a number of diseases and chronic conditions.
There is exciting scientific evidence to back this practice up. Using MRI scans, researchers have discovered that meditation allows the brain to grow new neurons and create new neural connections. Known as neuroplasticity, these changes promote enhanced physical and emotional well-being as well as resilience.
As numerous studies have confirmed that psychological stress is related to a number of health issues, university researchers around the world have also reported that meditation can reduce stress resulting in positive outcomes associated with a wide range of conditions including allergies, anxiety and depression, asthma, eating disorders, cancer, compromised immune system, stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, chronic pain, weight management and substance abuse.
Benefits Of Meditation
The good news is that everyone can meditate. It is easy to do, inexpensive (or free) and does not require any special equipment. As an added bonus, the main side effects are relaxation, a tranquil mind and a sense of peacefulness and well-being. When the techniques are learned and mastered, they can be practiced literally anywhere and at any time. If it’s not feasible or possible to carve out some quiet, alone time on a regular basis, there’s no need to fret. You might be surprised to learn that meditation can be practiced in tense, unnerving situations such as being stuck in traffic, waiting in a doctor’s office or even while dealing with difficult individuals. This is possible because during meditation you learn to focus your attention and let go of all the thoughts that bombard your mind and cause tension. As a result, a new perspective on nerve-wracking situations is gained. Skills necessary to manage stress are built. Self-awareness is increased. The present moment becomes the focus and negative emotions are reduced.
Practice Makes Perfect
Like anything else, the more you practice, the easier and more natural it becomes. Maintaining a comfortable position in a quiet, peaceful setting with no distractions for at least 20 minutes of uninterrupted time is the ideal way to meditate. However, positive benefits can still be achieved even if only a few minutes of quality time can be set aside. Above all else, don’t worry about how, when or whether you are meditating correctly. This only adds to the stress and defeats the purpose.
Whether you are currently dealing with a medical issue or you want to maintain your good health, practicing meditation on a regular basis can be just what the doctor ordered!