Everyone can benefit from the daily practice of meditation and there is a growing body of scientific evidence supporting the benefits of meditation and mindfulness on our emotional, mental and physical health.
Research suggests meditation helps people manage symptoms of
- Anxiety disorders
- Sleep disorders
- Depression, including bi-polar depression
- Heart Disease
- High blood pressure
- Memory loss
Clinical studies have shown beneficial effects on inflammatory disorders and is supported by the American Heart Association as a preventative intervention. A new study by researchers in the U.S., Spain and France reports the evidence of specific molecular changes in the body following an intense period of mindfulness practice.
“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper that shows rapid alterations in gene expression within subjects associated with mindfulness meditation practice.” says study author Richard J. Davidson, founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconcin-Madison.
Most interestingly, the changes were observed in genes that are the current targets of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs.” Says Perla Kaliman, author of the study and researcher at the Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona, Spain, where the molecular analyses were conducted.
A key result in the Davidson study is that meditators experienced genetic changes following mindfulness meditation that were not seen in the non-meditating group after other quiet activities- an outcome providing proof that meditation can lead to epigenetic alterations of the genome.
According to Dr. Bruce Lipton, gene activity can change on a daily basis. The perception in your mind is reflected in the chemistry of your body, and if your nervous system reads and interprets the environment and then controls the blood’s chemistry, then you can literally change the fate of your cells by altering your thoughts.
Research also shows that meditation speeds up brain processing potential, enhances creativity and boots memory recall. Science is proving what the ancients have known all along. Meditation is a necessary component of health and well being for all, not just the spiritually inclined.
Mindfulness is not a fad but the transformative practice of paying attention in the present moment. Left to it’s own devices, the mind will often jump to worrying about the future or replaying upsetting events from the past. A mind allowed to wander may linger on thoughts that induce anger, self-pity, depression and anxiety. As we indulge in these habitual past times, we reinforce the negative emotions in our hearts and create needless suffering for ourselves. Staying focused on the present creates a more tranquil balance of mind and body.