Many people today are moving at such a fast pace that their quality of life is being affected by stress,even if they don’t realise it. The mad rush to achieve or succeed comes at the cost of mental and physical health. Consequently it is very important to look for ways to minimize anxiety and alleviate stress. Some stress may be good for you but too much can be harmful.
The ability to relax is a key factor in reducing stress as it can relieve the negative health effects of the body’s stress response, including headaches, insomnia or increased risk of heart disease. Many forms of relaxation, such as walking or sitting quietly are simple and easy to do while others, like yoga or meditation, require some training or discipline.
Meditation is one of the best methods of relaxing and reducing stress. What is not so well known is that meditation also has anti-ageing benefits through it’s affect on our hormones, in particular the ageing hormone cortisol. Cortisol is necessary for life but a stressful lifestyle keeps its levels too high.
The right hormone levels are essential for the proper functioning of the body. Incorrect hormone levels contribute to accelerated ageing.
There are many different forms of meditation and the definition varies according to the context in which it is used. In simple terms it is a process in which a person attempts to concentrate his/her mind by focussing on an object or an idea by excluding ALL other objects or ideas from his/her mind.
The practice has a calming effect that leaves you relaxed and physiologically more regulated. The results can include feeling more ‘alive’ , calm and more aware of the things going on around you.
Studies have shown that meditation not only lowers blood pressure but can also strengthen the immune system while improving the ability to concentrate. Although science has not yet determined what happens between the meditating brain and the immune system, it seems that stress reduction could be the key to the beneficial effect on health as stress is a major contributor to major life threatening illnesses.
Anyone can practice meditation. It’s simple and inexpensive as no special equipment is required.