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The OptiHealth Guide to Meditation

The OptiHealth Guide to Meditation

In this week’s newsletter we wanted to focus on a practice which can help you to achieve spiritual well-being and improve your stress management.  That practice is meditation.  For anyone unfamiliar with meditation, meditation is the act of engaging in contemplation or reflection for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness.  This newsletter will cover how meditation works, the health benefits you can receive from meditation, and will conclude with 3 guided meditation videos.

 

How does Meditation actually work?

– Meditation can actually change our brain.  With cells and neurons in the brain constantly making new connections and disrupting old ones, meditation helps to shape our brain, both figuratively and literally.  In the figurative sense, by affecting the neural circuits of the brain, meditation can affect how we respond to situations.  And in the literal sense, meditation can actually affect the structure of our brains by thickening some areas and making others less dense.

To learn more about how meditation can affect specific parts of the body please take a look at the lovely infographic below.  Meditation affects the pain matrix, amygdala, prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, posterior cingulate cortex, temporo-parietal junction, heart, immune system, and blood pressure.

Click to view in separate window

 

 

8 Health Benefits of Meditation

1.  Meditation reduces pain and enhances the body’s immune system.

2. Meditation reduces feelings of depression, anxiety, anger, and confusion.

3.  Meditation increases blood flow and slows the heart rate.

4. Meditation provides a sense of calm, peace, and balance.

5. Meditation helps reverse heart disease.

6. Meditation helps control thoughts.

7. Meditation increases energy.

8. Meditation reduces stress.

 

 

Now that you know all of the wonderful benefits meditation has to offer, the only question left is, how can I get started with meditation?  Below, we have embedded our three favorite guided meditation videos.

10-Minute Guided Meditation to Ease Anxiety, Worry, and Urgency:  For anyone new to meditation, this soft spoken guided meditation is a great introduction to achieving mindfulness.  The voice guides you in following your breath, and adds in some guided imagery with nature.  This meditation is great for beginners or anyone dealing with anxiety.  We encourage everyone to give it a try.

 

Guided Imagery Meditation – The Seat:  This guided imagery meditation is a 17 minute peaceful guidance, opening with a focus on breathing, also including a 10 minute period without a guiding voice to allow you to experience your own stillness.  We recommend this practice for anyone looking to achieve relaxation.

 

Jon Kabat-Zinn – Body Scan Guided Meditation:  In this 45 minute guided meditation, the spiritual teacher Jon Kabat-Zinn teaches us about body scan meditation.  This video has a nice balance of verbal guidance and silence, which gives you the space to have your own experience.  This meditation is effective for all meditators, and will help you to become more aware of sensations in your body.

 

We hope this newsletter has opened your mind to the practice of meditation.  Give one of the guided meditations above a try, it may be just the thing you are looking for!  If you enjoyed this post and would like to receive our weekly newsletter via email please click here.