As if cultivating calm, peace, and joy, wasn't enough, there are some amazing health benefits to a meditation practice.
The journey to meditation bliss for some can start with frustration. When I began, I imagined being the person that could sit in blissful silence. I knew I needed something to balance my adrenal overload and type A personality. My attempts at even ONE minute of focus on breath or in silence were blasted by a barrage of thoughts within about 10 seconds. I literally could not sit still and "clear my mind" for between 1-4 minutes and this increased my stress rather than leaving me in a peaceful centered state.
Luckily for me, my good friend and Psychologist, Dr. Halley Moore suggested I try guided meditations simply by searching a few on YouTube. Now, there are several options for guided meditations which I strongly believe is the best way to begin a DIY meditation practice. My favorite resources to start this journey are still YouTube or the Apps "Calm" and "Insight Timer". You can also look up meditations on the podcast app on your iphone and there are plenty on iTunes for download.
ABC News Dan Harris after an anxiety attack on National TV, and beginning regular practice commented:
“The only time you can completely clear your mind will be when you are dead”
Instead of trying to wrangle my thoughts, being guided made it super easy and as I surrendered to the voice in my earbuds I began to experience some of the relaxation that was once so elusive. This made it easier to commit to 5 minutes/day, whenever I could fit it in. I found myself gravitating towards certain types of meditation (chakra clearing and balancing is still one of my favorites) but would try various types depending on what was happening in life. If I felt a cold coming on, I would do immunity booster meditations (although meditation itself releases immunity boosting chemicals), if I was having trouble sleeping I would search meditations for relaxation or sleep, if I was feeling anxious there was meditations to realign and center myself. This was now becoming an almost daily practice and I found myself staying on track my reminding myself that not only did I deserve 5 minutes a day to recharge and heal, but this commitment allowed me to show up feeling more grounded, peaceful, present, and best of all, happier. Additionally, the people around me deserved a better version of me.
You may be thinking HOW can I add one more thing into my already packed daily routine?! Some have said if you can't find 5 minutes a day for meditation you actually may consider meditating for 2 hours! While this seems unrealistic for most, the health benefits of meditation are beyond what any pharmaceutical might offer for a variety of dis-ease which provides additional motivation beyond your eventual state of sheer BLISS- and when combined you'll agree this is the Holy Grail of Ultimate Health!
The goal of meditation isn't to control your thoughts, it's to stop letting them control you.
UNDENIABLE HEALTH BENEFIT
There is actually scientific evidence for WHY this makes you feel so good. Studies have shown certain "feel good" and "pleasure" chemicals are released during meditation such as Serotonin, Dopamine, and Oxytocin. Meditation is also thought to contribute to the reduction of Cortisol by up to 50%, which is significant considering the long term health complications from chronic release of this stress hormone such as anxiety, depression, hypertension, inflammation, brain fog, and insomnia to name a few!
Meditation also has been shown to dramatically increase the level of DHEA which is called the longevity molecule for its role in stress reduction. This hormone level decreases as we age which then opens us up to disease and accelerated aging. In fact, researchers found the level of DHEA in the body was directly related to mortality and simply put the less DHEA you have the fewer years you have left.
Best known for making you feel calm, GABA is one of the major inhibitory neurotransmitters in your CNS. In fact, research shows anyone with addiction including alcohol, drugs, caffeine, tobacco, and food, all have a lack of GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid). In 2010 Boston University school of medicine found that 60 minutes of mindful exercise increased GABA by 27%, exceeding that of even physical exercise. This chemical can essentially melt away any anxiety associated with addition clearing the path to be a better version of you.
Most people have heard of "runners high" which is caused by neurotransmitters in the body called endorphins. Not only do these create a sense of happiness but they also work as natural pain-killers. During meditation, endorphin release contributes to the happy, zen-like, alert state of bliss which makes committing to a practice much easier.
A strong argument suggests that meditation is the source for the fountain of youth. As we age, our bodies produce less Growth Hormone (GH) which during childhood is what sustains our tissues and organs. This decrease causes complications that come with age such as weaker bones and muscles, increased body fat, poor heart conditions, poor mood, and fatigue. This is why there is an increasing market for the rich and famous spending $10,000+/year on taking GH. But our bodies naturally produce the most GH during Delta brainwave states which occur during meditation and times of deep sleep. Researchers found regular meditation practitioners had much higher levels of GH explaining much of their overall good health.
Ever heard of taking Melatonin for better sleep? Melatonin is actually a hormone produced in the pineal gland with its levels generally peaking just before bedtime. This is also known to have Superhero properties for its prevention in cancer, strengthening of the immune system, slow-down of the aging process, and links to preventing many degenerative diseases. Researchers at Rutgers University discovered that melatonin levels for meditation practitioners were boosted by an average of 98% with many practitioners having increases of more than 300%!
“Complete health means visiting the spiritual gym as often as you physically workout" - Jessica Otter, Life Coach
From a self care perspective, I know we all wish to show up in our life as our highest self. This is a challenge if you are always living in a depleted state both energetically and physiologically.
You absolutely deserve just 5-20 minutes a day to realign your mind, body, and spirit; reset your energy vibe, and cultivate that blissful loving environment that is intended for you.
If you have read this far, congrats...you are clearly committed. I now challenge you to a 30-day meditation practice. Let's do it together! For more tips and links to my meditation practice or my blog visit my meditation page on website jessicaotterlifecoach.com and contact me for your 30-day meditation challenge buddy system. I'll send you daily links to free meditations along with my recorded chakra and morning meditations!
I invite you to uncover the love, light, and ultimate health that is your birth-right by releasing any limiting beliefs or blocks through your new meditation practice!