Meditation and Relaxation: Harvesting Psychological, Physiological and Spiritual Benefits
Meditation and relaxation can be done whilst on foot or doing simple repetitive tasks. Walking meditation helps splits down habitual routine mental categories, therefore regaining the main nature of events and perceptions, focusing attention on the procedure while ignoring its rationale or final outcome. In a type of meditation using mental picture, such as Chinese Qigong, the practitioner focuses on flows of energy (Qi) in the body, initially in the abdomen and then flowing throughout the body, until dispersed. Some contemplative traditions, such as yoga or tantra, are ordinary to several religions.
In a study, it was proven that the brainwaves of those practicing meditation are healthier. Neuroscientists have established that practitioners modify their brain activity to diverse areas of the cortex – brain waves in the stress-prone right frontal cortex move to the calmer left frontal cortex. In other words, they were calmer and happier than before. This cerebral alteration reduces the pessimistic effects of stress, anxiety and mild depression. There is also a reduction of activity in the amygdala, where the brain processes fright and alarm.
The benefits of meditation and relaxation can be categorized into three; psychological benefits, physiological benefits and spiritual benefits. Psychological benefits include: greater creativity, decreased depression, decreased irritability and moodiness, decreased anxiety, increased emotional stability, increased self-actualization, improved learning ability and memory, increased brain wave coherence, increased feelings of vitality and rejuvenation and increased happiness.
Physiological benefits or those that we can see through appearance include lowered levels of cortisol and lactate-two chemicals linked with stress, improved blood pressure, and slowing down the aging process. I think majority of people would want to achieve this effect. With this fast changing times and stressful jobs, our physical appearance is heavily affected.
Meditation and relaxation is also valuable for those people with asthma. It improves the flow of air in our lungs and air passages that leads to easy breathing. People with heart diseases also profits because of the drop in cholesterol level that it could bring. Deep rest could be attained through lower heart rate and reduced work load of the heart.
In the spiritual sense, meditation practitioners’ goals tend to be shifted to spiritual and personal development. In the studies on cancer and AIDS patients, it was proven that those who practiced meditation had been in sync with the spiritual dimension in life. Those who died practicing meditation had reached the state of self-acceptance and self awareness. Even though they have never overcome death, they had attained self-contentment.