Meditation may seem quite an unusual practice here in Nigeria but there are a thousand and one reasons why everyone – including Nigerians – should add it to their daily routine. Meditation is becoming more popular today due to its noticeable benefits in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Even western medicine has recognized its effects through research. What makes this ancient practice – that spread from Asia to the West and other parts of the world – so beneficial? Meditating affects the body and mind in ways one can never imagine.
Here are some solid reasons why you should begin meditating:
First and foremost, meditation improves our sense of empathy. Empathy is a very important aspect of communication. It helps foster your relationships with people and increases the level of bonding between you and others. Interestingly, meditation is an effective booster of empathy. When scientists compared the brains of Buddhist monks and new meditators, they discovered that the region of the brain associated with levels of empathy was much more pronounced. What a marvelous revelation right?! Imagine how much better your communication level would be if you only took out time to meditate.
It also literally changes your brain waves. Mediators have higher levels of alpha waves which have been shown to reduce negative feelings of tension, anxiety, and anger. You will start noticing how calmer you feel in stressful situations. Meditation can actually be that miracle drug that will relieve you from that stress you go through every day at work or school. Hence, Meditation is a natural tranquilizer. This makes it more interesting because meditation is a mood booster for you with no side effects at all.
A more intriguing revelation is that meditation physically changes the brain’s shape and size. After eight weeks of consistent meditation, studies found out grey matter – located on the surface of the brain – was denser in areas associated with learning, memory processing, and emotion regulation. Yet, the amygdala which deals with stress, blood pressure and fear had decreased grey matter. This just proves how important meditation is for your brain’s functionality.
Meditation also increases the variability of the heart rate. While this may sound harmful, it actually plays a key role in transporting oxygen and carbon dioxide around your body.
The Immune System
A study was carried out where meditators and non-meditators were given the flu virus. Shockingly, meditators were able to produce a greater number of antibodies and had increased immunity.
Furthermore, meditation even goes as far as causing changes on a cellular level. Your chromosomes have protective protein complexes called Telomeres. Scientists have linked a shortened Telomere to diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer. Amazingly, when cancer survivors completed a meditation program, their Telomeres elongated. Stress relief has a positive effect on the Telomeres which has been shown to thwart shortening by increasing the DNA on the shrinking Telomeres.
Most importantly, have it in mind that meditation is not a cure-all drug or substitute for conventional medicine. A regular medical checkup is still very necessary and shouldn’t be substituted by any other means. Meanwhile, I would classify meditation as a life-changing habit that could work wonders in your life if you only tried it.
Now that you’ve been enlightened on meditation, try as much as possible to set out at least fifteen minutes of the day to meditate and see what wonders it could work for you.