Your Body On Meditation
Meditation comes in dozen of forms, including the popular transcendental and mindful, all of which have one thing in common: a heightened state of awareness. At any given time, your thoughts are bouncing like ping-pong balls between the past and the future, stuck on what could have been or fixated on what might be. Rarely do they zero in on what IS. Research shows that finding your “RIGHT NOW,” as New Age-y as it sounds, can overhaul your wellbeing. Here’s how regular meditation amps up your health.
BRAIN: Research shows that meditation can increase alpha and theta brain activity, which is linked to relaxation. Practicing meditation every day for two months can physically beef up some parts of your grey matter. The body’s senses—speech, hearing, feelings, seeing and memory—and muscle control are governed by grey matter.
MOOD: Slipping into a meditative state can light up the area of your noggin that controls complex thoughts and positive emotions. Some kinds of mediation can also build mental muscles in the brain’s hubs for compassion, empathy, and fear, improving both your emotional control and your relationships with others.
LUNGS AND HEART: Meditation increases activity in your parasympathetic nervous system, which controls your rest-and-digest functions. When you meditate, your lungs draw deeper breaths and your heartbeat slows, causing your blood vessels to relax. Regular mediation can lower your blood pressure and your risk of heart disease.
RELAXATION: Your adrenal glands dial back production of the stress hormone cortisol. Meditation also increases blood flow to your brain, which helps lower anxiety and improve memory.
WILLPOWER: It sounds too good to be true, but practicing meditation can lower your blood sugar levels and may cut cravings for salty foods.
IMMUNE SYSTEM: Meditation can prompt your body to step up its antibody production and nix the mental negativity that may dampen immune response.
By Angela Martindale