What Is Meditation And What Does Science Say About It?

Black and White Nature Sunny Beach
Black and White Nature Sunny Beach (Photo: Wendy Hero/ Pexels)

The world is getting more and more toxic now, which could drain anyone physically, mentally, and most especially emotionally. Because of how stressed out people can get with the world they are in, there are several activities that experts advise people should try to gain peace. One of them is meditation.

Meditation, which has originated from the Hindu traditions of Vedantism dated back 1500 BCE, gained popularity because of its promised benefits. Most of these benefits are focused mainly on the person's emotional state such as: helps in managing stress, improves sleep quality, and gives more happiness. But with all these testimonies, what does science say about it? Is your effort worth it?

A recent study conducted in the Center for Wellness and Achievement in Education in San Francisco, CA reveals how people who practice meditation was indeed able to manage their stress more than those who don't. Throughout the study, the researchers found out how the body was able to lower the molecule they called "nuclear factor kappa B," which according to them a hormone created once stressed. This molecule activates another molecule called "cytokines," also known as one of the reasons why people experience physical and mental problems.

Moreover, another study posted in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, which was conducted in 2017 showed how beneficial meditation is. According to a post from Medical News Today, through meditation, especially when partnered with yoga, the body is taught to become more stress resilient by increasing the brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which helps guard nerve cell health and control the body's metabolic processes.

Similarly, one more evidence posted in the BMJ journal named Evidence-Based Mental Health showed how calming the mind through meditation can help in relieving body chronic pain conditions such as osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis. Given this reason, some experts also encourage their patients to meditate especially as "it shows promise in improving pain severity and reducing pain interference and psychological distress."

Given all these, don't you dare to offer a minute or two for your meditation every day? If you don't have any idea where to start, GAIAM posted some of the steps that you can try.

First, make sure you are in a place comfortable and peaceful enough away from tension or stress. Sit or lie on your preferred spot. Second, relax, take a deep breath and close your eyes. Third, don't stress yourself from breathing too deep, just breathe naturally. Fourth, focus on your surroundings, your breath, and your body. Listen to the birds' chirping, the leaves rustling, and the wind moving. Take a few minutes in the same position. Be one with nature. Doing so could surely make you feel at peace and relaxed for sure.

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