~ By Terri Mudge ~
Stress is a real killer. Scientists have identified many of the biological factors linking stress to real medical problems including physical deterioration, adding to the risk of stroke, heart attack, infection, asthma and even making recovery from cancer harder. Chronic stress can come from the job, family issues, poverty, abuse, recurring pain, or even caring for a sick loved one and its effects can take their toll. The good news is that the bad side effects of stress can be turned around by implementing a few good habits.
The solution lies in taking control of your body to re-direct your brain into healthier patterns, that over time, increase your body’s ability to withstand life’s stresses. How does one do that you ask? Mindfulness, of course!
Here are 5 Reasons to Meditate Backed By Science:
- Harvard Medical School researchers have found increases in GABA (an inhibitory neurotransmitter) in people who Meditate, while those with depression or anxiety disorders have low levels of GABA.
- Yoga and Meditation provide the body a mechanism to alter their responses to bad experiences and improving the neuroplasticity of the brain. Studies show this leads to the ability to moderate bad habits, limit compulsive behavior and tame obsessive thoughts.
- Meditation has shown to increase the activity in the brain’s left pre-frontal cortex, the area of the brain associated with positive emotions in studies by Buddhist monks.
- Even more studies have shown that Meditation increases activity in the areas of the brain responsible for making decisions and paying attention.
- Yet further research has tied Yoga and Mediation to an increase in melatonin (a hormone intimately involved in regulating the sleeping and waking cycle) and regulating circadian rhythms (physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle, responding primarily to light and darkness). Essentially this means they lead to positive impacts on sleep and mood.
Not convinced yet? Listen to this broadcast from NPR about researchers who studied students practicing meditation for as little as 11 hours within one month. They found changes in brain connectivity were actually visible on a brain scan. Hear the whole story here.
The studies simply keep adding up! I’d say it’s time to embrace them and set a date with ourselves for some time alone. Being able to handle stress easier, plus getting improvements in our brain chemistry in the process? Why wait another moment?
Doing my best to live life on purpose!