At Inspire Fitness for Wellbeing, we regularly educate our clients on the importance of being healthy in both mind and body. There is an abundance of research to suggest that emotional stress can cause as much harm to our body’s biomechanics as physical stresses can. In keeping with our post-holistic approach to health and wellness, we provide an insight into meditation and how it may benefit your health.
Do thoughts whirl through your mind during the day – or even in the middle of the night – making you feel stressed, anxious or ready to explode?
Are you always thinking ahead about what you need to do, rather than enjoying the present moment?
Then discover the wonder of meditation…
What is meditation?
Meditation is a simple tool for maintaining mental and emotional health. It involves shifting the focus of your mind from your thoughts to your senses. When focusing on your senses, you reconnect with your body and come into the present moment. This brings your mind, body, and emotions into alignment so you feel calm and balanced. Better still, these feelings can last through your busiest day.
What does meditation involve?
What happens in your mind affects your physical health. Conversely, how you treat your body has a powerful effect on how you think and feel.
- Relaxing your body,
- Calming your mind,
- Remaining alert,
- Using your senses, and
- Being the observer to your thoughts, feelings, actions, and emotions.
Often you meditate without realising it. This happens when you are totally focused on something you are doing. This might be gardening, feeling the breeze on your face when walking, doing artwork, or being caught up in music or dancing.
During a meditation class, your focus may be the breath, sensations in the body, sounds, movement, or visual objects. These are ways of providing space in your mind, away from the endless stream of thoughts and worries that are inevitably linked with past events (that you can never change), or future events (where you are only guessing what may happen).
When you take the time to meditate and allow your mind, body and emotions to become still and calm, you often find the answers you have been seeking.
How does meditation help your health?
The benefits of meditation are well documented in research, and from the clinical experiences of medical and health professionals.
Meditating regularly can:
- Reduce anxiety and stress,
- Increase energy and stamina,
- Ease insomnia, pain, migraines, and high blood pressure,
- Improve concentration and memory,
- Enhance creativity, and
- Promote feelings of calmness and happiness.
In the workplace such benefits translate over to:
- Skillful and effective decisions and actions,
- Handling stressful situations more effectively,
- Staying focused in challenging situations, and
- Feeling more energetic and confident.
Experiencing calmness and clarity leads to harmonious working relationships, reduced absenteeism, and increased productivity. Stress builds up slowly during the day, so knowing how to reduce stress levels is important for optimum health and wellbeing.
Meditate, and you’ll also look younger
Research has shown that meditating has the potential to make you look five to 12 years younger than your chronological age. According to the ancient spiritual masters, when your mind is at rest during meditation, your body’s vital energies (also known as “chi”) pass through the cells and tissues of your skin, enveloping them with vitality and life essence. From this spiritual perspective, it is believed that meditating regularly assists in cleansing and rejuvenating your skin.
How does meditation work?
The mind-body connection is well established. What happens in your mind affects your physical health. Conversely, how you treat your body has a powerful effect on how you think and feel.
Consider today’s pace of life, where you encounter many stressful situations. Your response will be reflected in your body by physical symptoms, like high blood pressure , digestive problems, muscle tension and headaches. It only takes a minute to turn on the relaxation response – breathe slowly and deeply, and then become aware of tension starting to ease from your body.
However, time spent meditating promotes a deeper feeling of rest that lasts much longer throughout the day. Meditation also teaches you to act rather than react when faced with challenging situations. And that’s a wonderful way to go through life.