Meditation. Mindfulness. These are some of the many buzzwords being used by celebrities, social media influencers and others to promote calmness and clarity within yourself. We have all tried out meditation at some point in our lives and some of us enjoyed it, others not so much.
Meditation is one of the best ways to include mental healthcare as part of our daily lifestyle. A research study showed that meditation can reduce the chances of relapse and other mental illnesses while developing a powerful, cognitive, behavioural coping strategy for diseases like depression.
However, have you ever wondered how it really works? Take a look at what goes behind one of the best mental practices for holistic health and well being.
Since meditation involves complete rest, you must ensure that you will not be disturbed in the middle of a practice. The preparation part may seem like a small process but actually helps your mind calm down and get ready to relax. Most processes of the body undergo a slow transition from one phase to another, like a warm-up into a workout and meditation is no exception. This will help you mentally prepare and forget all stress so you can reap more benefits as you practice.
While meditating, your heartbeat slows down to the point where most bodily functions are relaxed. Meditation can be described as a form of consciousness where you are aware but the physical body relaxes in a stage similar to sleep. This phase gets you to focus because being calm requires one to concentrate on the breathing pattern or positive affirmations. This allows endorphins like serotonin and dopamine to rush throughout the body, resulting in a happy and peaceful feeling. This goes on throughout the session as well as after the practice.
An Eye-Opening End
Once you slowly open your eyes at the end, the cocktail of endorphins that kept you calm and happy continue to give you the benefits of focus, ability to concentrate longer and an un-fogged mind. These effects last for varied durations depending on how long you have been meditating but even a month of regular meditation can make a big difference.
Any habit that you take up causes physical changes in the brain and meditation like many other self-help programs can show results in 8-12 weeks with benefits like reduced stress, lesser brain fog, improved concentration, productivity and positivity. It also helps those with mental health issues to take the first step towards a better version of themselves and thus proves to be one of the best ways of self-care.
- Marlatt, G. A., & Kristeller, J. L. (1999). Mindfulness and meditation. In W. R. Miller (Ed.), Integrating spirituality into treatment: Resources for practitioners (p. 67–84). American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.1037/10327-004
- Astin J, A: Stress Reduction through Mindfulness Meditation. Psychother Psychosom 1997;66:97-106. doi: 10.1159/000289116