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How Meditation Heals September 4, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Meditation, Mindfulness.
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Donald-DirectorMeditation is calming, soothing, and healing.

The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) controls release of adrenaline during times of stress . . . real or imagined. Due to ubiquitous stress in daily life, the adrenal gland works overtime, resulting in chronic stress overload which weakens the immune system, increases pain, and prevents or slows healing.

The parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) controls the relaxation response, which improves mood and quality of life, speeds healing, and helps to relieve pain.

Meditation can be seen as a key to help us switch off the overworked SNS and tap into the relaxation response of the PNS.

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As we engage in mindful breathing (taking slow, deep, controlled breaths), we counter the stress response and release endorphins. ย Outside the brain, the adrenal gland quiets down as the relaxation response fires up.

The overall effect of meditation is a shift from stress mode to relaxation mode, which enhances the body’s ability to heal.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related post: ย 5 Myths About Meditation (Find Your Middle Ground)

Comments»

1. Pix Under the Oaks - September 4, 2013

I have not mastered the art of meditation yet. I try and I want to do it but my mind just stays all cluttered. I am working on it though.. ๐Ÿ™‚

nrhatch - September 4, 2013

Focus on your breath . . . deep, calm, soothing breaths.
Follow the air . . . in, out, in , out.
Allow your thoughts to drift away.

Aah . . . that’s better!

2. viviankirkfield - September 4, 2013

Thank you, Nancy! This post was JUST what I needed!
With the going through all of our STUFF…and packing…and looking around thinking I will NEVER be ready in time…some deep breaths are definitely in order.:)

nrhatch - September 4, 2013

Yes! Whenever life is throwing too much at us at one time, it’s a good idea to schedule breaks so we can “catch our breath.”

Packing and moving definitely requires us to “keep breathing.”
Aah . . . that’s better!

3. kateshrewsday - September 4, 2013

I had no idea about the physiological background, Nancy, thank you! All I know is, when I meditate it is like being at the centre of a gyroscope: utterly still at the centre of all that activity. And myself. Finally.

nrhatch - September 4, 2013

Yes! You’ve described it perfectly, Kate -> the world is still whirling and twirling and tilting on its axis, but we are in perfect equilibrium.

I’m in the midst of reading Evolve Your Brain. Fascinating to see the interplay between body and mind. When mind is off kilter, the body follows suit. And if our “off kilter” thoughts become habitual, the body creates additional receptors for those non-productive thoughts . . . encouraging them to continue.

It is up to us to press the pause button and reclaim the reins.

4. savitha jvn - September 4, 2013

sure.meditation is definitely a good way to destress and unwind. starting with pranayama initially can help one get better at meditaion too.

nrhatch - September 4, 2013

Ohm . . . . ๐Ÿ˜€

5. Grannymar - September 4, 2013

I was never into meditation, but seem to have pressed a button somehow. Due to my heart condition, I am not supposed to get stressed. I taught my self to draw inward as if into a bubble and allow others to panic all they want on the outside!

nrhatch - September 4, 2013

There are all sorts of ways to meditate . . . and they need not involve tying ourselves into pretzels.

I’m glad that you’ve trained yourself to draw on that relaxation response (while allowing others to panic all they want). ๐Ÿ˜‰

6. Grannymar - September 4, 2013

“. . and they need not involve tying ourselves into pretzels.” I love it!
Now I have a new way to tease my Hindu friend Ramana, who is a dedicated practitioner of meditation. He will love it!

nrhatch - September 4, 2013

Glad to give you some “ammunition” for teasing your friend. I find that getting settled into the same position each time expedites my “transcendence” from where I am to where I want to be, but I MUST be comfortable . . . with blood flow to each and every extremity. ๐Ÿ˜€

7. Andra Watkins - September 4, 2013

I cannot meditate, Nancy, but I can sweat to some yoga. For most of the class, I can focus on my breathing. That’s why they call it practice. ๐Ÿ™‚

nrhatch - September 4, 2013

Yes! Sometimes I fall into a meditative state easily . . . and the world disappears from view. Other times, my thoughts refuse to settle down. When that happens, I just focus on my breath and allow my thought to “just be.”

8. shreejacob - September 4, 2013

I getting there…slowly….but surely ๐Ÿ™‚

nrhatch - September 4, 2013

Inch by inch, life’s a cinch.
Yard by yard, life is hard. ๐Ÿ˜‰

shreejacob - September 4, 2013

Ooo…I like that quote!! Thank you!

nrhatch - September 5, 2013

A good reminder not to attempt to “eat an elephant” in a single bite.

9. Three Well Beings - September 5, 2013

I’ve never read such a great explanation, Nancy! How interesting!

nrhatch - September 5, 2013

Thanks, Debra. Iโ€™m in the midst of reading Evolve Your Brain. Fascinating to see the interplay between body and mind. The explanation in there was much longer . . . talking about peptides and receptors. But this is the gist.

Meditation allows us to “idle our engines” a bit. Vrroom. Vrroom.

10. Crowing Crone Joss - September 5, 2013

It’s been fascinating for me to see how my sweetie, whose adrenals have worked overtime for decades, can learn to be mindful through his breath. The idea of meditation was so strange to him, learning to pay attention to his breath and to deepen his breath is a skill he has been able to master, though, and what a difference it is making in his overall health.

nrhatch - September 5, 2013

Yay! That is so great to hear, Joss. I can’t imagine why more people don’t meditate. The benefits are enormous and there is NO downside.

Maybe people are afraid they’ll turn into “Zen Zombies.” ๐Ÿ˜›

11. sufilight - September 7, 2013

I meditate but not consistently, I need to give my self at least 10 minutes a day to meditate. However, I do pause and breeeathe, every now and then throughout my day. I see you are reading Evolve Your Brain. ๐Ÿ™‚ Joe Dispenza rocks as he practices what he teaches.

nrhatch - September 7, 2013

I am reading it . . . just fascinating. Thanks so much for the recommendation.

BTW: The book is MUCH BETTER than the DVD because it can give greater detail about the workings of the brain, etc.

Like you, I don’t always sit down to “formally” meditate. But I remain “mindful” through much of the day ~ while walking, while sitting on the beach, and while chopping carrots. ๐Ÿ˜€

sufilight - September 8, 2013

Good to know I didn’t miss that much by not being able to listen to the DVD. ๐Ÿ™‚

nrhatch - September 8, 2013

He’s personable on stage in front of an audience and his presentation contains a general overview of WHY we should want to know more about the body-mind connection -> he piqued my curiosity, but did share usuable HOW TO’s.

So, nope, you didn’t miss much. That said, I don’t understand why all DVD’s don’t include subtitles. ๐Ÿ˜•


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