Meditation has been around for 100s of years and with all the wonderful benefits it’s no wonder meditation is practiced even today. The word “meditation” comes from the English translation of Indo-Tibetan words meaning the “cultivation of familiarity with one’s own mind.” David Vago, Ph. D, a research associate at Harvard Medical School, says, “Meditation gives you the tools to train your mind to be habitual in a positive or adaptive way and reduce all the negative habits or perceptions in your life.”
How to Meditate
The physical act of meditation involves putting aside time to reach a state of physical relaxation, and focused attention, this can be done by just sitting quietly or standing and focusing on one’s breath, word or phrase. By engaging in this practice for 15 – 20 minutes a day, research has proven to improve brain functioning.
A study published in Psychosomatic Medicine, stated that individuals who meditated for seven weeks reported feeling significantly less depressed, anxious, angry and confused than those who hadn’t practiced meditation. The meditators also reported having more energy and fewer heart and gastrointestinal problems. Other recent research has looked at precisely what happens during meditation that allows it to cause these positive physical changes. Researchers at the Maharishi School in Fairfield, Iowa found that when you meditate the stress hormone called cortisol isn’t produced as much. Therefore, meditators are able to adapt easily to stress in their daily lives, regardless of how severe the circumstances may be.Nevertheless, there is a ton of research that confirms meditation will keep your brain healthy, make you happier and improve your overall physical and mental performance. But, in order to really experience these benefits, meditation should be practiced daily and long term. I recommend choosing a time that works best everyday, maybe after you wake up or before bed, start off with a few minutes than gradually move on to longer periods of time. Gradually, you will begin to feel the benefits of meditating.