A recent study site's meditation restructures the brain's ability to respond to stress. The amazing results showed as little as 5 hours over 5 weeks can make a measurable difference. Committing as little as 15 minutes every day to focus on your breathing can change your mood and stress levels. The studies are still limited to the overall health effects but the science so far shows signs of reduced stress levels, strengthened neurological connections and even thickening of the brain tissue, which reduces chances for Alzheimer’s and dementia. Both heart attacks and strokes can be induced by high stress, over extended periods of time. It is easy to see that reducing your stress response can also diminish chances of stress related illness, which can be as minor as how long your cold lasts to things as sever as a life ending heart attack. Meditation is not only changing your neurological pathways and thickening you brain tissue it is adding precious, quality time to your life and it doesn't cost a penny.
As a beginner it is helpful to find a quiet place, turn of distractions and pick a calm back round music if you desire. Incense is also a known stress reducer and may help you relax for deeper meditations. Take some deep breaths in and slowly allow them out. Do your best to keep your focus on your breath. If you find your mind wandering, acknowledge the thought and let it go. In the beginning this may be often, but within a short period of time you will find yourself staying focused for longer periods of time.
A wonderful tip if your feeling stress and can not take time out for meditation using a simple, effective breathing technique. A favorite of mine is the 4-7-8 breath count. I would not suggest this while driving until you know how you will feel. The process is take a breath in to the count of 4, hold your breath to a count of 7 and release your breath to a count of 8. Repeat these steps four times, no more in the beginning, this will have an immediate effect and you may feel a bit lightheaded in the beginning as this is a wonderful deep breathing exerciser. I use this often, especially when I am too busy to stop for a meditation but need more clarity. With regular meditation and this breathing technique you will find with time you will be able to call upon the feeling of calmness that comes with a deep meditation at will.
Written By Rebecca Allen
From October 2012 issue of
South Shore and Cape Cod Metaphysics
Reference: Moyer, C. A. et al. (2011). Frontal Electroencephalographic Asymmetry Associated With Positive Emotion Is Produced by Very Brief Meditation Training. Psychological Science.