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Healthy Habits – Mindfulness Meditation

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We have all heard that there are calming benefits to meditation. Did you know that recent studies have found that meditation can play a major role in health and well being? Science is now recognizing the amazing effect this ancient technique has on the human body!

A study co-authored by Christopher Moore and Stephanie Jones, assistant professors of neuroscience at Brown and published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience found that:  “…those who engage in this mindfulness practice gain enhanced control over their cortical alpha rhythms — the synchronous firing of a population of neurons in the brain at a specific frequency. These rhythms help control how the brain processes sensory information, such as pain, and negative emotional states, like depression. They also help organize the general flow of information in the brain.”

The study also found, “…mindfulness meditation debiases the body map representation so that attention is not captured by chronic pain sensation. … You have equanimity towards it.  Effective meditators may modulate their firing of alpha rhythms to allow for the most favorable filtering of sensory information.”

Additionally, information from the Mayo Clinic confirms that:

Meditation and emotional well-being -
When you meditate, you clear away the information overload that builds up every day and contributes to your stress.

The emotional benefits of meditation include:

  • Gaining a new perspective on stressful situations
  • Building skills to manage your stress
  • Increasing self-awareness
  • Focusing on the present
  • Reducing negative emotions

 

Meditation and illness -
Meditation also might be useful if you have a medical condition, especially one that may be worsened by stress. While a growing body of scientific research supports the health benefits of meditation, some researchers believe it’s not yet possible to draw conclusions about the possible benefits of meditation.

With that in mind, some research suggests that meditation may help such conditions as:

  • Allergies
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Asthma
  • Binge eating
  • Cancer
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Pain
  • Sleep problems
  • Substance abuse

*** Please note that Meditation isn’t a replacement for traditional medical treatment but it may be a useful addition.

Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years and can be done anywhere and at any time. There is no special equipment needed and no cost to practice it.

There are many forms of meditation including Transcendental meditation, Mantra meditation, Mindfulness meditation, Guided meditation, Qi gong, Tai chi and Yoga.  Today we are going to explore the most common practice; Mindfulness Meditation.

Mindfulness meditation involves deep breathing techniques that allow you to be – in the moment, having observance of your thoughts and emotions and letting them pass without judgment.

The Practice:

During initial practice I recommend 5 minutes of meditation per day.  Once you feel comfortable with your meditation then you can gradually increase the time you spend meditating.

  • Find a quiet place and sit comfortably with your back straight and your feet on the ground. Do not cross your ankles or your arms.  Meditation can also be done lying down as long as you are not tired enough to fall asleep.
  • Breathe deeply, from your abdomen.  When you place your hand on your stomach you should feel it rise and fall.  We want this nice, deep breathing and not the shallower breathing that moves your chest.
  • Feel your muscles loosen and relax.
  • Allow any and all thoughts to move through you.  Recognize them and let them go with no criticism or judgment.  You are not your thoughts or emotions.  Let them transmute and disperse.
  • Continue to gently return to your breath.  Repeat this process as many times as you need to.

This meditation technique allows you to enter the alpha state of consciousness. Alpha: 8-13 Hz: Associated with lighter meditative states and super learning. It is a relaxed yet alert state of mind ideal for positive thinking and creative problem solving. It is used to elevate mood, reduce stress, enhance creativity and is believed to bridge the conscious and unconscious mind.

You can find BWE (brain wave entrainment) music to assist with meditation at Mindpowermp3.com

Meditation is a practice…. A commitment to spend a few minutes every day restoring calm and inner peace.  We’d love to hear about your practices so please leave your questions and comments below!

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2 Responses to “Healthy Habits – Mindfulness Meditation”

  1. Leila says:

    Thanks for the article. There was some new to me information that I was grateful for. I have read somewhere else that pain can be exacerbated by attention so learning that meditation can help to diminish the sensation of pain makes sense.

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  2. james milne says:

    Hi, I have been meditating for a few years now and I can often go into deep meditation state, the past newsletter that you sent about Tom Kenyon has been a transformation for me,wow talk about fireworks going off in the mind,his cd’s are the real deal and I would like to thank you for guiding me to his website.

    love and peace james

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