“That sounds like a lot of mumbo, jumbo. Sitting still doing nothing would make me more stressful because then I’m not accomplishing the things that are causing my stress!” Have you ever felt that way? I have. It’s a Western culture affliction. We are consumed by the need to do more, be more, get more. Can’t do that if we take time out to just be still for ten minutes, now can we? Or can we afford not to?
Psychology Today has scientific proof that meditation works. Meditation has profound physical and psychological effects on our bodies. Regular meditation can reduce heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce pain, and strengthen our immune systems. Scientists have proven that the stress causing brainwaves in the right frontal cortex are converted and moved during meditation to the calming brainwaves in the left frontal cortex. This results in reducing mild depression and anxiety. Seems like a much healthier solution than whipping out the prescription pad for Prozac.
A quote from Psychology Today says - In a study published last year in the journal Stroke, 60 African-Americans with atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, practiced meditation for six to nine months. The meditators showed a marked decrease in the thickness of their artery walls, while the nonmeditators actually showed an increase. The change for the meditation group could potentially bring about an 11 percent decrease in the risk of heart attack and an 8 percent to 15 percent decrease in the risk of stroke.
I think those are exciting results accomplished through the power of meditative thought, no drug intervention, no surgery to scrape the plaque away from hardening arteries.
Here is another example from Psychology Today - Researchers at the Maharishi School of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, found that meditation has a pervasive effect on stress. They looked at a group of people who had meditated for four months and found that they produced less of the stress hormone cortisol. They were therefore better able to adapt to stress in their lives, no matter what their circumstances were.
Meditation also brings us face to face with ourselves, our connection to all around us, and the problems we must come to grips with. Meditation puts us in the middle of ourselves, which can be an uncomfortable place to be. Most of us want to fix things NOW instead of accepting them the way they are and moving forward.
According to Roger Thomson, Ph.D., a psychologist in private practice in Chicago and a Zen meditator, “Mediation encourages its practitioners to become aware of the fundamentally distorted aspects of an overly individualistic view of human experience. Recognizing that the true nature of all individuals is emphatically non-individual, neither lasting nor separate, is the wisdom of Zen."
Do a short quiet time meditation where you focus on music and visual images while remaining still for ten minutes. I found a great sight that offers IPOD downloads of “meditation rooms”. The rooms feature soothing music and images in various themes. My favorite is forest. My husband’s is space.
Try it. There is nothing to lose but ten minutes stuck in freeway traffic or standing in line at Starbucks. It’s free and as endless as your imagination. Let me know how it works out for you.