Meditation is the routine exercise of focusing and training your mind in a deliberate way. In the process, self-presence and awareness of your surroundings is increased. Meditation is part of the All Functional Health (AFH) anti-aging and regenerative medicine programs.
There are two major broad techniques of meditation:
The first is focused –attention meditation. This is where one directs attention to a single object, thought, sound, or visualization. All distractions are pushed out of the way. Meditation may focus on breathing a mantra, or calming sound.
The second is open-monitoring meditation. This is where you focus on broadening the awareness of your surroundings, follow you train of thought, and sense of self. You may become aware of suppressed thoughts, feelings, or impulses.
In our busy schedules a simple exercise of hourly breathing exercises may also help. You can set your phone to chime every hour and then take deep breaths: five seconds drawing air in, holding for five seconds, and then slowly exhaling over five seconds. You can repeat this five times every hour.
Practicing meditation has many health, regenerative, and anti-aging benefits. We will discuss the top 10.
- Reduce stress.
Most people practice mediation to reduce stress. Normally, mental and physical stress cause increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This produces many of the harmful effects of stress, such as the release of inflammatory chemicals called cytokines.
These effects can disrupt sleep, promote depression and anxiety, increase blood pressure, and contribute to fatigue and cloudy thinking.
- Control Anxiety
Anxiety is controlled when stress is controlled. Several studies have shown mindfulness meditation helped reduce anxiety symptoms in people with generalized anxiety disorder along with increasing positive self-statements and improving stress reactivity and coping. Yoga has also been shown to have this effect combining meditation and physical activity.
- Mitigate age-related memory loss
You can keep you mind young by improving attention and clarity of thinking. Kirtan Kriya is a method of meditation that combines a mantra or chant with repetitive motion of the fingers to focus your thoughts. Studies in people with age-related memory loss have shown it improves performance on neuropsychological tests. multiple meditation styles can increase attention, memory, and mental quickness in older volunteers. Meditation can also help improve memory in patients with dementia. It can also help control stress and improve coping in those caring for family members with dementia.
- Improves Sleep
Studies show practicing mindfulness meditation allowed people to stay asleep longer, improved insomnia severity, and helped people control or redirect the racing or runaway thoughts that often lead to insomnia, and helped relax the body, releasing tension and putting people in a peaceful state in which you’re more likely to fall asleep.
- Decrease Blood Pressure
Meditation reduces the strain on the heart and therefore improves overall physical health. Over time, high blood pressure makes the heart work harder to pump blood, which can lead to poor heart function. High blood pressure also contributes to atherosclerosis, or a narrowing of the arteries, which can lead to heart attack and stroke. Several studies showed meditation helped reduce blood pressure. This was more effective among older volunteers and those who had higher blood pressure prior to the study. In part, meditation appears to control blood pressure by relaxing the nerve signals that coordinate heart function, blood vessel tension, and the “fight-or-flight” response that increases alertness in stressful situations.
- Foster emotional health
Studies have shown meditation decreased negative thoughts when exposed to viewing negative images and reduced inflammatory chemicals called cytokines, which are released in response to stress that can affect mood, leading to depression.
- Increase self-awareness and generate kindness
Certain types of mediation such as self-inquiry meditation is designed to help you develop a greater understanding of yourself and how you relate to those around you. Other forms teach you to recognize thoughts that may be harmful or self-defeating. pPracticing tai chi may be associated with improved self-efficacy, which is a term used to describe a person’s belief in their own capacity or ability to overcome challenges. Not only can meditation help with self- awareness but positive feelings towards others as well as yourself are increased. Metta, a type of meditation also known as loving-kindness meditation, begins with developing kind thoughts and feelings toward yourself. This form of meditation demonstrated its ability to increase peoples’ compassion toward themselves and others. In one study, practicing metta meditation 3 times per week improved positive emotions, interpersonal interactions, and understanding of others after 4 weeks
- Enhances attention span
Focused-attention meditation is like bodybuilding for your attention span. It helps increase the strength and endurance of your attention. Studies showed people who listened to a meditation tape experienced improved attention and accuracy while completing a task, performed better on a visual task and had a greater attention span than those without any meditation experience, and can reverse patterns in the brain that contribute to mind-wandering, worrying, and poor attention. One study found that meditating for just 13 minutes daily enhanced attention and memory after 8 weeks.
- Helps fight addictions
The habitual practice of meditation increases your mental discipline so that you can break dependencies by increasing your self-control and awareness of triggers for addictive behaviors. Research has shown that meditation may help people learn to redirect their attention, manage their emotions and impulses, and increase their understanding of the causes. Meditation may also help you control food cravings. A review of 14 studies found mindfulness meditation helped participants reduce emotional and binge eating.
- Control Pain
Pain is modified by your state of mind and when you are more stressed you perceive more pain. One review of 38 studies concluded that mindfulness meditation could reduce pain, improve quality of life, and decrease symptoms of depression in people with chronic pain. A large study showed meditation was associated with decreased pain. Meditators and non-meditators experienced the same causes of pain, but meditators showed a greater ability to cope with pain and even experienced a reduced sensation of pain.
To find out more about meditation and how we use it as a part of AFH Anti-aging and regenerative programs including supplements like Thrive and Sleep Support, obtain Probio 350, Probio Plus, ProBio 100, ProBio 30 SB, PomBioX, and ProBio Phyto (Rainbow) or participate in other brain cognitive medicine programs, email firstname.lastname@example.org, request an appointment at www.allfunctionalhealth.com, or call (925) 736-9828. We’ve helped thousands of people on their health journey and we look forward to helping you. Take care and stay healthy.
Our office location in San Ramon is a short drive to the Silicon Valley including Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, San Jose, Cupertino, Mountain View, Burlingame, Hillsborough, San Mateo, San Francisco, Piedmont, Berkeley, Walnut Creek, Danville, Pleasanton, and surrounding areas. Telemedicine/Telehealth services are now available in the comfort of your home so no need to drive across the bay anymore to access your Quadruple Board Certified physician. We are able to service all 50 states and send test kits and nutraceuticals directly to your home. Call us to find out more about our many services. 925-736-9828