The Benefits of Meditation (How to Relax Your Body and Mind)

The Benefits of Meditation (How to Relax Your Body and Mind)

If you find yourself feeling anxious and stressed more frequently than usual, it’s time to take a break before you find your bucket overflowed with stress. You can achieve this by pampering your mind and body with meditation. Meditation is one of the best ways to cope with stress as it releases tension from our muscles and encourages the supply of oxygenated blood to our brain. It gives us a moment for self-reflection and helps in finding the answers to our problems within. It is also very relaxing.

How I Like to Meditate:

Focusing attention to the different parts of the body through meditation is a good way to quiet the mind. You may start practicing meditation by sitting comfortably while closing your eyes. Relax your shoulders by placing your hands on your lap. Take a few slow and deep breaths and exhale the stress from your body with each exhale. After that, start focusing on the different parts of your body starting from the toes, legs, and hips with each breath. Picture yourself sending vibrations of relaxation to each body part and release your tension as you do so.

You can practice this for five to ten minutes before you go back to your regular tasks. Here are some of the benefits of meditation:

Using Meditation to Calm The Mind

It Reduces Stress Levels Within Your Body and Can Lessen Inflammation

Stress causes the release of hormones such as Cortisol. It produces harmful effects on your body and releases cytokines, which is an inflammation-promoting chemical. These hormones and chemicals can promote disturbed sleep, anxiety, and depression. It also leads to cloudy thinking and fatigue. People often use meditation for stress reduction. A study shows that if you do mindfulness meditation for more than eight weeks, it can lower the harmful effects of inflammatory hormones on our body. Meditation can also improve symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, bowel syndrome, and fibromyalgia.  

Helps Control Inflammation

If you feel less stressed, this can lead to you feeling less anxious. If you start practicing meditation you could experience a reduction in your anxiety. Along with that, it also reduces the symptoms of anxiety such as paranoid thoughts, phobias, social anxiety, panic attacks, and obsessive-compulsive behavior. Meditation can not only reduces the symptoms of anxiety but can also help you cope up with the stress related to the high-pressure working environment.

Helps in Decreasing Blood Pressure

Meditation helps in reducing the strain on your heart. High blood pressure creates pressure on the heart, and it has to work harder to pump the blood, which leads to poor heart function. With time, high blood pressure contributes to narrowing the heart arteries, and atherosclerosis, which can be the main cause of heart stroke and attack. When you practice meditation and chant non-vocalized words, it can help in reducing high blood pressure. This can lead to a controlled nervous system and coordinated heart signal.

Using Meditation to Help Decrease Blood Pressure

Helps You to Bear Pain

Your mind plays an important role in perceiving pain, and it can pain levels can increase if you’re in a stressful condition. A study shows that if you practice yoga on a regular basis, it helps you make less sensitive towards pain and decrease in chronic pain. Meditation helps in diminishing the perception of the pain in your brain. This process can help you cope with intermittent pain. 

Can Improve Your Sleep Pattern

Half of the population of the world struggles with insomnia at some point in their lives. If you practice mindfulness meditation techniques regularly, you’ll notice an improvement in your sleep. Meditation not only helps you sleep easily but also makes sleep more satisfying. Our racing thoughts, stress, and anxiety don’t let our brain relax, and that leads to insomnia. Meditation calms these thoughts and helps in relaxing our brain, releasing tension and putting you in a peaceful state. 

Aids Addiction Recovery

Meditation helps in increasing self-control, which can help you to get rid of any kind of dependencies and increase awareness for triggers towards addictive behavior. A study shows that regular practice of meditation helps people to increase their willpower, redirect their attention, control impulses, and more. For people who are taking medication and treatment for drugs or alcohol addiction, meditation can serve as the perfect aid for controlling your cravings. Meditation also helps in controlling food-related cravings and is helpful for disorders like obesity.

Using Meditation to Help Control Addictive Behavior

Can Also Increase Positive Feelings Such As Generocity

Regular practice of meditation helps in increasing positivity towards yourself and others. Love kindness meditation is a technique that helps you to develop kind thoughts towards yourself and others. You start developing mercy and forgiveness, first to yourself then gradually towards an acquaintance and finally towards your enemies. Not only does this encourage love and kindness, but also it helps in reducing marriage conflicts, social anxiety, and aids anger management. This meditation technique is an excellent way to learn compassion and empathy towards others and to look upon life with positive feelings.

Bipin Baloni is a passionate Yogi, Yoga Teacher and a Traveller in India. He organizes 200 hours of yoga teacher training in various cities in India and Nepal. He also conducts AyurvedaCourses in Kerala He loves writing and reading books related to yoga, health, nature, Himalayas and Trekking in Nepal .

Using Meditation Strategies to Help Cope with Life While Experiencing Chronic Illness

Using Meditation Strategies to Help Cope with Life While Experiencing Chronic Illness

You’ve probably heard about the health benefits of yoga in improving mental and physical health, and in improving flexibility. Due to the shared benefits, the words ‘yoga’ and ‘meditation’ are often thought of as synonyms. Although meditation can be incorporated into yoga, they are different practices. While I was skeptical of meditation at first, it has indeed helped me to manage my stress and life while living with Multiple Sclerosis, chronic pain, and fatigue.

How Meditation Works

Meditation involves clearing your mind while maintaining a state of awareness. Or at least trying to! It is much more than sitting and concentrating in a quiet area for a designated amount of time; it involves calming your mind of all thoughts, achieving a deep inward peace, and maintaining attention and alertness in the process.

Have I gotten to the complete deep inward peace thing? Nope, not yet. But I have found that meditation is an excellent way to relax, to calm my anxious mind, and to take the focus off of my pain.

People often use certain postures, breathing techniques, and even chants to help facilitate the process of meditating, but these are not required. They are not the act of meditation itself, just the support tools. Personally, I like to meditate in my favorite recliner or in my bed because it’s most comfortable for me.

Meditation with Chronic Illness

Stress as a Spoonie is Extra Hard On Your Body

Meditation makes the body less responsive to stress hormones, which lowers blood pressure, improves blood circulation, improves digestion and immunity, and establishes emotional and neurological “balance.” 

How does this work exactly? 

According to what I’ve learned, it mostly comes down to hormones. Stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenalin increase blood pressure and heart rate, while “feel good” chemicals, such as serotonin, (which are released in a state of relaxation), work to repair cells.

Tips on Getting Started with Meditation

As a beginner, taking a meditation class, watching a video, or using an app that introduces you to the concept of meditation is the easiest way to get started. A guided meditation teaches you various techniques for facilitating the process. It is not as easy as I thought it would be, but I’m glad to have another calming tool in my toolbox.

Using apps to aid meditation to help cope with chronic illness

You may be able to find a class in your community that is specifically dedicated to meditation, but for me, it’s been easier to learn through online tools. Some meditation videos/audios can be found for free online. Try searching YouTube, or downloading an app. If you prefer a mix of yoga and meditation, the best types of yoga to focus on include Kundalini, Ananda, Jivamukti, and Integral.

Research shows that just 20 minutes of consistent meditation sessions can have tremendous health benefits. When my therapist suggested I try it, I was skeptical. There was no way I could do it for twenty full minutes! So I started with just five minutes at a time. Meditating before you go to bed can help you to fall asleep too. Personally, falling asleep is a struggle, and I have noticed that I fall asleep much faster if I meditate in bed.

Try getting outside! Many people find that sitting in nature – I just sit on my back porch – helps them to facilitate the process of meditation. It’s also a great way to get outside and absorb some Vitamin D.

Try meditation out side to help cope with chronic illness

Of course, everyone is different. To get started, experiment with different ways of meditating to see what work for you and what helps you the most. Also, try meditating at different times of the day and for different periods of time to find what works. It’s okay if you cannot calm your mind completely, (I rarely can!), you can still get many benefits from making the effort. Remember, you and your health are worth that effort!

Jenna Green is the creator Full of Grit & Grace, a blog and community for people who cannot work a traditional 9-5 job. She’s an outspoken spoonie with Multiple Sclerosis, Dystonia, Degenerative Disc disease, chronic pain, and a whole lot of grit. She strives to help others (and herself) to learn to give themselves grace while going through tough times. She’s a dog mom, auntie extradonaire, fashion lover, and (mostly) optimist.

How to Reduce Stress through Yoga

How To Reduce Stress Through Yoga

Disability or chronic illnesses are perhaps not the things one can ever completely overcome. Does this also mean there is no way around being plagued with acute stress and anxiety emerging out of illness situations for the rest of life?

Yoga reliefs stress and anxiety

The mind-body technique of yoga suggests, one can discipline herself past stress and anxiety, and culture more calmness, acceptance and gratitude. The thousand-year old practice is known to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system– the section that initiates restfulness and subsequent healing functions in the body. Also, yoga is observed to increase the GABA or gamma-amino butyric acid levels in the body. This neurotransmitter is responsible for making you feel oodles of tranquility.

The benefit of yoga for the chronically ill or specially-abled may actually have nothing to do with treating symptoms. What yoga therapy majorly addresses is the baggage of emotional turmoil that comes with a difficult diagnosis. While you would most definitely need to gather up all your will and execute your problem-solving attitude and positive intuition to live with disability or illness, yoga can help you feel calm and grounded.

Here is why you should consider adding yoga to your self-care for mitigating stress.

To Develop an Innate Coping Technique

Chronic illnesses have a way of fluctuating in the magnitude of their effects on the body. One day it’s just dull, ignorable and the day next it gets absolutely insufferable. While medication, seasonal change or appropriate lifestyle can provide some relief here and there, there is no guarantee that there isn’t a particularly bad phase lurking in the corners.

While coping mechanism is something every individual should work on to make getting by smoother, for the chronically ill or specially-abled, it’s especially necessary. Yoga sequences, both in restorative styles and high-energy rigorous flow styles, lay out an adaptive exercise pattern. Yoga practitioners systematically internalize rhythmically pacing and adapting to intensive phases.

Once you are on top of your down-dog, you probably won’t get so rattled with suddenly coming on intensive phases of your illness!

Manage chronic illness with Yoga

To Help Boost Cognition and Memory

Dealing with chronic illness or disability often takes a toll in the form of cognitive dysfunction. Often there is confusion in conducting day to day affairs, failing memory and lack of focus. The feeling is much like not being able to sleep for days and then sitting down to understand quadratic equations. The mind being an inseparable extension of the physical body is naturally prone to getting affected by the tribulations of the body.

The innate breath-centered focusing exercise in yogic discipline provides great improvement in this regard. Mindfulness becomes a second nature the more and more one gives in to the practice. Subsequently memory and relative cognitive capacities improve to.

Time you stay sharp with yoga!

To Deal With Your Emotional Excesses Healthily

The emotional backlash of coming to terms with a difficult diagnosis can be immense. To stay strong and develop a positive problem-solving attitude in these times is a severe challenge. It is natural to experience extreme trepidation and lack of self-reliance, pushing one to the brink of a breakdown, and that is when yoga can become a tool for healthily channelizing these emotional upheavals.

The practice of yoga reflects restoration, you learn not to be too hard on yourself. Yoga is about turning the gaze inwards, you learn to accept. Yoga exemplifies how simple discipline and practice can expand perceived boundaries. It’s the beginning of the realization that you are infinite. Incapacities are suddenly less magnified and you can win back your self-reliance.

To Find Quality Self-Time

Diagnosis of chronic illness and disability is many times comprehended tragically as end of self-sufficiency. One is made to revise life’s priorities and forced to deal with a sea change in working systems of life. A person diagnosed chronically ill can be prohibited to drive on her own on medical counsel, for example. Changed circumstances can be harrowing and exhaustive for both the patient and those around her. The essentiality of some quality me-time yet remains and yoga can be an effective way to find that space.

The more you learn to delve inwards, unknot your worries as you do your body joints and muscles, more would you learn to see your way around the challenges of illness and disability.

To Learn Acceptance

To be in denial or wishing away the hardship is perhaps the faultiest mechanisms to deal with health handicaps. On the same note, you cannot let your illness or disability magnify into something bigger than it is and get the better of you. To have an objective take on the subject is ideal and also perhaps the hardest task. To accept life as it is and making the best of situation is the kind of wiring that let us succeed in the battle and yoga s a discipline is full of this perspective.

As you employ your body and mind to task in the meditative asanas, take measure of the infinite possibilities that you hold, despite the illness and despite the perceived disability. Thrive!

Utilizing yoga as therapy to deal with the stress of special conditions can be a huge basis for chronic illness and disability support.

Take the path.

Bipin Baloni is a passionate Yogi, Yoga Teacher and a Traveller in India. He provides Yoga Teacher Training In India. He loves writing and reading books related to yoga, health, nature and the Himalayas.