Meditation – Mindfulness

The Power of meditation

Meditation is the practice of turning your attention to a single point of reference. It can involve focusing on the breath, on bodily sensations, or on a word or phrase known as a mantra. In other words, meditation means turning your attention away from distracting thoughts and focusing on the present moment. Mindfulness meditation is such a great stress reviler, also known to improve cognitive functions, and importantly Mental Health.

  So where did meditation begin?  Some of the earliest written records of meditation, come from the Hindu traditions of Vedantism around 1500 BCE. The Vedas discuss the meditative traditions of ancient India. Around the 6th to 5th centuries BCE, other forms of meditation developed in Taoist China and Buddhist India. Dhyana in early Buddhist also takes influence on Vedanta by ca. the 4th century BCE. There is another form of meditation called “transcendental meditation” is when you repeat a word while you meditate. Its meant to bring your attention back to your breathe and to just simply focus and not let your mind wonder off into this random thoughts. This is called a “mantra”. Story goes back in the 1960’s it became popular in the western hemisphere of the world, when The Beetles discovered it. For more of the history of mediation and its roots here’s a link. Check it out. 

http://www.chopra.com/ccl/the-history-of-meditation

http://www.project-meditation.org/wim/history_of_meditation.html

 

So today i want to go over 3 things about mediation,  Stress,Improving cognitive functions, Mental health and Aging. Does it really help lower stress levels? And can it really improve your cognitive functions? What about Mental Health? And can it Slow down Aging?? I am going to provide information that i have researched and give you scientific facts and research and results if Mindfulness really help. Just remember,  We are in the beginning stages of exploring the science behind meditation and how it rewires our brain and how different areas’s of our brain are affected. So lets dive right into this.

    Over the years, Mindfulness meditation has been known to reduce mental stress and anxiety. What is it about meditation that can have this effect on mental consciousness? As you perform mindful meditation and focus on your breathe getting into the state of Zen. They say you break that chain of the Negative thoughts in your mind. Its like taking a step back and being aware of the thoughts that come in and out. Letting them come and go as you please. It  is like having an app opened in the background of your phone and its just there without really being aware that its open and running. That how your thought are too. When we become more mindful of these thoughts. You can see if certain thought serve you and if not we just let them go. Its also known to reduce inflammation and stress hormones. But it wont get rid of stress for good. Being stress is something we need in life and will never go away. Stress has been with us since the dawn of time. But extra baggage we can help eliminate. 

    Although meditation still isn’t exactly mainstream, many people practice it, hoping to stave off stress and stress-related health problems. Mindfulness meditation, in particular, has become more popular in recent years. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing, and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future. Or, as my mom would say, “Don’t rehearse tragedies. Don’t borrow trouble.”

 But, as is true for a number of other alternative therapies, much of the evidence to support meditation’s effectiveness in promoting mental or physical health isn’t quite up to snuff. Why? First, many studies don’t include a good control treatment to compare with mindful meditation. Second, the people most likely to volunteer for a meditation study are often already sold on meditation’s benefits and so are more likely to report positive effects.

   But when researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD sifted through nearly 19,000 meditation studies, they found 47 trials that addressed those issues and met their criteria for well-designed studies. Their findingspublished in JAMA Internal Medicine, suggest that mindful meditation can help ease psychological stresses like anxiety, depression, and pain.

   Dr. Elizabeth Hoge, a psychiatrist at the Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorder at Massachusetts General Hospital and an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, says that mindfulness meditation makes perfect sense for treating anxiety. “People with anxiety have a problem dealing with distracting thoughts that have too much power,” she explains. “They can’t distinguish between a problem-solving thought and a nagging worry that has no benefit.”

   One of her recent studies (which was included in the JAMA Internal Medicine review) found that a mindfulness-based stress reduction program helped quell anxiety symptoms in people with generalized anxiety disorder, a condition marked by hard-to-control worries, poor sleep, and irritability. People in the control group—who also improved, but not as much as those in the meditation group—were taught general stress management techniques. All the participants received similar amounts of time, attention, and group interaction. 

   To get a sense of mindfulness meditation, you can try one of the guided recordings by Dr. Ronald Siegel, an assistant clinical professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School. They are available for free at

www.mindfulness-solution.com.

   In a few experiments having people do a 8 week course of mindful meditation. Dr. Britta Hölzel notice that that the hippocampus. The little Sea Horse  shape inside in the brain. Its functions are known to regulating stress and forming new memories. Forming new memories is also know as “Neurogenisis”. 

Image result for the hippocampus

In a recent review over 21 studies involving 300 mediators, found that 8 regions of the brain were”consistently altered in mediators”. 

   When you are mediating the Alpha and Theta waves increase, and different areas of the brain decrease to improve focus, better and faster decision making, and even being more energy efficient. Which means, you’re using less energy in your brain to make these decisions and studies shown that decision making has been know to increase by 400 mili second. That’s almost half a second faster. Doesn’t seem like much but it can be the difference on being in a car and making a split second decision that can possibly save your life or someone else’s. It also been show on x-ray that grey matter has increased in the hippocampus, preferential cortex, and temporal periodical conjunction.

If you don’t know what grey matter is here is a little description of it… 

https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Grey-Matter.aspx

   It has been shown in recent studies with mental health and depression, that 70% who practice mindfulness meditation have better mental health. There has been cases where people have leaned off their anti-psychotic medications because they feel like they don’t need it anymore. This is a wonderful thing. It seems like the art of mindfulness hasn’t been taking to serious in the Western Civilization. And not in the practices of Doctors or even Physiologist. It seems like now a days they just prescribe a quick fix and give you a drug . (“Here you go take this and you’ll be cured of your depression and be happy again”) No it does not work like that. Only time i would recommend taking medication is when its a life or death situation. Other than that. If we actually tried to “fix the mind” or just practice mindfulness and understand your thought patterns, maybe we can get the population to stop taking medication? To be realistic about it. That wont ever happen because the health industry will loose millions of dollars and they don’t want that to happen. To get back on track. Mindful mediation can help because it give you these tool to help you with your thoughts so you don’t feel as depressed or letting those thoughts bring you down anymore. In 47 studies it showed that mediation program who did it consistent but small improvement in anxiety and depression. It is known to help but if you’re someone who deals with deep depression and anxiety  have confusing thoughts and meditation isn’t helping to much and have dark thoughts and struggling with mental health and just need to talk to someone about your feelings.  please contact Crisischat.org

   There is a beautiful idea that meditation can slow down aging. And who doesn’t want to slow down aging. There is studies with Dr. Cliff Saron’s. where participants go on a mediation retreat. It where you meditate for 3 hours a day on the mountain with those beautiful views. At the end of each sessions he takes their blood. He is testing for the Telomeres.  Telomeres are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect our chromosomes, like the plastic tips at the end of shoelaces. Without the coating, shoelaces become frayed until they can no longer do their job, just as without telomeres, DNA strands become damaged and our cells can’t do their job. For more info about this click here… 

https://www.tasciences.com/what-is-a-telomere/

As you get older telomeres tend to get shorter and shorter. And if they become to short the chromosome can unwind and destabilize the cell. It is believed that shorten  telomeres play an important roll in why we age and shorter telomeres also have been link to cardio vascular disease, osteoporosis, diabetes and obesity. But lucky our body has this great tool to protect the telomeres and they are called Telomerase. It is an enzyme. So more telomerase activity is link to being healthier. In Dr. Cliff studies it showed that they had 30% more telomerase from when they had started. Sometimes you don’t science to explain all things. Your body will send you messages if this practice is working or not. It has been proven to help mentally, physically and emotionally. Try it out and tell me what you think of your practice or do some research in area by you and go to a class for a guided mediation teacher or even Yoga. For more information and videos i set up some links for you that can tell you more about it and a better understanding. Stay healthy Fit Fam.

http://saronlab.ucdavis.edu/shamatha-project.html

https://nccih.nih.gov/health/meditation/overview.htm

https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/gimlet/sciencevs/e/50278494

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