According to the American Psychological Association, in 2012 “the USA is on the verge of a stress induced public health crisis“. Stress is a significant risk factor in many life-shortening and debilitating diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer and depression. Stress reduces well-being, happiness, health and success.
Magic Wand Survey
In my recent Magic Wand Survey, of women, 44% said they wanted less stress in their life, 22% wanted to feel less burdened, 20% wanted less worry. The really good news is that there is a possible “magic wand” to reduce all of these things, but like any good “magic”, you have to believe in it! So if you have any doubt about the effectiveness of meditation I hope to di”spel” it now with some science!
Meditation and Neuroscience
Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years, as part of religious and contemplative practice. But in the last decade research has proven the claims that meditation improves health and well-being to be true.
Our brain is constantly being restructured in response to our experiences in life, this restructuring is called “neuroplasticity”.
Prominent psychiatrist and brain researcher Dan Siegel recommends daily mindfulness meditation “even if it’s just for 5 minutes a day” can reduce stress and over-arousal of the brain. It can also help us develop an insight into how our mind functions and this can help improve all aspects of our life: academic, social and emotional intelligence, relationships, performance and health (Mindsight by Daniel Siegel).
Daniel Amen’s SPECT scan research shows that meditation can change the function of the brain (Change your Brain, Change your Body by Daniel G. Amen). Changes include: improved function of the Prefrontal cortex (the brain’s CEO: focus, attention, planning, impulse control, insight), temporal lobes (memory, language, emotion regulation, spirituality) and deep brain structures reducing anxiety and worry. His research also showed that meditation improves sleep, reduces cognitive decline, reduces muscle tension, improves skin condition (yes, actually makes you look younger), aids weight loss, reduces muscle tension and perception of pain and reduces cortisol (stress hormone).
So what stops people from meditating?
So if meditation is this amazing, why is everyone not doing it daily? In another of my recent surveys, this one of moms; only 30% of moms (who completed the study) have ever meditated and 82% of moms were interested in learning to meditate. The reasons moms were not meditating busy-ness, lack of time, poor time management, conflicting demands, feeling self-conscious and they they don’t know how.
The great news is that meditation is not difficult to learn and there are a multitude of free or inexpensive meditation courses available online. If you prefer a more hands on approach, meditation classes or meetups are also widely available. If you struggle to find the time, think of meditation as an investment in your health, happiness and success.
For more information on the latest trends in health follow my blog, http://blog.ctnews.com/drrhodes/