Meditation: How it helps with stress, longevity, relationships and more

“You know not only your body, but also your environment and the world,” he added. “It forces you to focus on life rather than worrying about it, worrying about the future.”

Meditation, the practice of reason, does not have a single universal definition. But as the interest in reason and meditation grew, it concluded that it was “a mental and physical practice aimed at the interaction between the brain, mind, body, and behavior,” which contained four main elements: a quiet place with little distraction and a comfortable posture. , attention and openness, ”according to a 2021 study.

“It helps memory and concentration, increases resilience, helps manage stress better (and) has a positive effect on relationships,” Vermani said. “In your relationships, if you’re busy with your brain, you’re reactive. And when you’re rational and reasonable, there’s a tendency to react back. Your mouth is sometimes harmful, or negative, or accusatory.”

Affects stress and longevity

According to the American Psychological Association, mindfulness training affects both ways of stress in the brain, altering the structure of the brain and its activity in areas that regulate attention and emotion.
According to a 2015 study, people who used mindfulness-based stress reduction and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (including meditation) were less likely to experience negative thoughts or useless emotional reactions when faced with stressful situations.
In addition to any structural changes in the brain, these benefits may be the result of physical processes. Meditation helps regulate the autonomic nervous system, which is part of our nervous system, which is responsible for regulating involuntary physiological functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, and digestion.

“When we’re anxious or racing in a rat race around the world, we’re in such a hurry that we take short, shallow breaths,” Vermani said. “When you do that, your muscles get tense, your brain gets foggy and drowning; you have thoughts.”

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Breathing meditations reduce muscle tension and heart rate, ”Weil Wright, a psychologist and senior director of health innovation at the American Psychological Association, told CNN in 2020. The relaxation felt during or after deep breathing meditation may be related to more breathing. Oxygen to the brain and body, Vermany said.
“We went back a week on meditation,” the doctor said. Deepak Chopra, Founder of the Chopra Foundation and Clinical Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego. “During that week, all the genes that cause self-regulation, homeostasis, in short, healing – they increased 17-fold. All genes that complicate or complicate (and) aggravate (and) cancer, heart disease, autoimmune diseases (and) accelerate. Aging decreased. The level of the enzyme telomerase has increased by 30%. This regulates the genetic lock or our aging. “

Other studies

Although meditation has certain benefits for mental and physical health, researchers are still looking for the best ways to objectively measure how the practice affects the brain.

According to a review published in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science in 2019, some researchers are increasingly using cognitive neurology techniques such as MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to determine what is happening in participants ’neural networks during or after meditation.

However, images from MRI and other imaging techniques may not accurately reflect the complex factors involved in some of the findings made by other researchers on how meditation can change the structure and function of the brain, experts say. Interpretations. ”

There are also some studies, the results of which contradict the idea of ​​meditation, that can help someone, regardless of their personal differences. According to the Perspectives on Psychological Science review: “Meditation-related incidents that were significant enough or tragic enough to require additional treatment or medical care have been reported in more than 20 published reports or observational studies.”

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The events documented in these rare reports, including psychosis, mania, anxiety, panic, traumatic memories, and depersonalization, make a person feel unrealistic, distant, and distracted. According to the American Psychological Association, he is a distant, dreamy character.

Differences between those who benefit from meditation and those who do not benefit from it can go as far as determining which type of meditation is best for a person’s physical and mental condition, Vermani said.

“Even when we conducted our study (on meditative breathing for anxiety), we found that generalized anxiety disorder was not complicated by other illnesses that could have been worse,” Vermani said. This is because one of the meditations used by Vermani and his colleagues is the inspiring yoga breathing technique, which involves quick breathing and exhalation to keep the pigeon breathing, energy and mental clarity.

“If you have bipolar, (breathing) can cause mania, so that’s a big deal. You don’t teach a pregnant woman to breathe because it’s so strong, you can push it into the womb. So there are consequences to meditation.”

In addition, some meditators have spent many years trying to avoid or distract from sad memories.

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“When you’re alone, your thoughts go to things you haven’t decided,” Vermani said. “The military, the officers who responded to 9/11, or the police officers I work with – they’re exposed to the horrible things they see so many times, they just push life and functions and reject something. But when they’re silent and meditate or breathe,” he said. , it has all come back to the surface because they haven’t turned to it. ”

He added that meditating in a controlled environment with professionals who could educate about the potential effects was beneficial for people with complex emotional states.

Get started

Meditation is “very affordable,” Dr. said. Robert Waldinger, clinic Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Director of Adult Development Studies at Harvard. “There are so many apps now that you can learn meditation if you have a smartphone. Usually the most useful thing is to use one of these apps … someone here will guide you through meditation.”

You can also take an introductory class at a local meditation center, read a book, watch an online video, or practice alone. Whichever path you choose, find out what resonates with you – find someone whose voice you like and whose words make sense, Waldinger said.

For starters, starting in a professional setting can help you change direction after any obstacles that can quickly lead to rejection or frustration, Waldinger said.

“There are many misconceptions about meditation,” he added. “It’s a misconception. ‘If I’m doing it right, I shouldn’t have thoughts.’ And that’s not true at all. The mind creates thoughts, it does that. So you don’t get rid of thoughts until you die.”

Instructors can teach about intuitive or obscure aspects of meditation, such as thoughts or distracted minds, Waldinger says. “If you’re just aiming to get involved, you’ll be distracted, including what you’re doing.”

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Since meditation is about being available, he added that it can be done anywhere – but a quiet, regular area can be optimal for beginners who are learning to focus on the present. You can start with five minutes a day and work your way up.

“Try it every day for a week and see if you notice anything,” Waldinger said. “But even after a while, many said,‘ Oh, it was helpful. I want to do it again. ”

If you find that meditation makes you feel unwell, talk to an experienced meditator about your experience or wait until your emotional or mental state improves, Waldinger said.

“People understand that meditation is more than stress management,” says Chopra, author of Total Meditation: Awakened Life Practices. “Today, when people say meditation, they turn to reason, which is good. But meditation involves the study of consciousness. It involves interception, (that is) knowing how to consciously control your autonomic nervous system. It includes. Relationships, the whole aspect of the rational consciousness of the ecosystem, of emotions, of social emotional intelligence. ”

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