10 Health Benefits of the Meditation Movement : Rewiring our brains

As World Meditation day approaches on Tuesday 21st May 2019 we are reflecting how meditation has been integrated into an everyday wellbeing practice.

In a few short years, meditation practice is being fully embraced – along with a healthy approach to nourishing & moving our bodies
— it’s now one of our 5 core pillars of wellbeing
We are huge fans of radical wellbeing.

Since starting my meditation habit, my brain has literally been rewired for happiness, peace & success. I find happiness and calm in unexpected places (oh my I’m recalling how I used to break out in a cold sweat, heart booming in my head before public speaking…. now it’s #breathe… #breathe… & #breathe..again)

By far the most notable change is an inner connection to peace that slowly permeates into every area of my life. When I started I felt awkward with a sense of judgement by others. When I closed my eyes I could even see & hear my friends & family saying, ‘she’s gone on her whacky-mat again.” I mean that monkey mind was hardly conducive to the joy, peace and harmony of meditation?! It did not take long to let those images go & I built my practice to engage in the daily 45-minute practice. And if I happen to miss it – whoah …look out world… I feel it!

Meditation isn’t just for monks. Long gone are the days when meditation is seen as ‘whoo-whoo” or ‘whacko’ and only for those committed to eastern practice. Meditation studios, brands and apps are spawning worldwide. The rising tide of meditation is surfing the same growing trend and impact as the Yoga practice did 25 years ago & I did both!

A MEDITATION MOVEMENT

  • The number of meditators across the globe tripled between 2012-2017
  • Apple named mental wellness/mindfulness apps the #1 app trend of 2018.
  • Headspace App has 26 million users in 190 countries
  • Calm App had 26million downloads – 50,000 new downloads each day

WHY is Meditation so on trend?

The growth is part of the snowballing momentum of our “anxiety economy”— trending due to the behaviours of habit and our continual being available  – the smartphone, the 24-hour bad news cycle, social media and climate change stress.

WHO is Meditating?

Simple answer is… we ALL are & we ALL can!

Yes, there are some big names doing it – Oprah Winfrey, Hugh Jackman, Richard Branson, Famous athletes, Deepak Chopra, Arianna Huffington to name but a few … take a look here at the list of outrageously successful people who are getting their zen on.

There’s a reason why too… There is scientific evidence of its benefits and that meditation is a uniquely powerful solution for our stressed-out, digitally addicted & distracted times, how meditation is the anxiety-attacking and focus-restoring choice of many – not just the Celebs, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs & government leaders, Meditation is becoming the choice of masses because it underpins our wellness.  Meditation is for you, me, your mum or your dad, your brother or sister, your auntie or uncle, your grandparent, your boss, your colleague, your peer and your friends.

The better news is that the more we practice, we embed the habit and the more we connect to the health benefits. This is juicy stuff!

***Look out for our MEDITATION MINDFUL REVOLUTION BLOG publishing June 2019 to DISCOVER the latest
trends & options available**

It’s exciting to observe how this science & art is being integrated into our daily routines and having a significant impact on our holistic wellbeing.
+ 3 additional bonuses
-fully accessible to all
-minimal – if any- cost, AND
-we can do it wherever we are.

It’s here and it’s here to stay:
So get your Zen on here and now!

HOW TO DEFINE MEDITATION
The English Cambridge dictionary defines Meditation as the act of giving your attention to only ONE thing, either as a religious activity or as a way of becoming calm and relaxed.

Yoga international defines Meditation or –DYANA – as a precise technique for resting the mind and attaining a state of consciousness that is totally different from the normal waking state.


Meditation is a science, which means it follows a process:
-> Has a particular order
-> Has definite principles
-> Produces results that can be verified.

In Meditation:
-> the mind is clear, relaxed, focussed inwardly.
-> you are fully awake and alert.
-> your mind is not focused on the external world or on the events taking place around you.
->Meditation requires an inner state that is still and one-pointed so that the mind becomes silent.


Volumes of evidence-based research
demonstrate the value & benefits.
In a frenetic world of change, immediacy, busy-ness and information overload, what could serve us better than finding a way to be with the moment giving our minds a chance to
rest and recuperate.


We need to look after our physical wellness as well as our mental and energetic wellness. Meditation is often referred to as a way of getting a sweat-on for our internal world.

A complete workout for the mind…
And so many ticks on the benefits list!


ZEN 10


PHYSICAL HEALTH BENEFITS


#1. Increases blood flow to your brain.
The stronger and steadier the flow, the better the brain functions.

2. Grows your brain… both in volume and thickness. 
Increases memory, focus, self-awareness and self-control

#3. Instigates Muscle relaxation.

#4. Engages the parasympathetic nervous system.
Enables us to rest and recover from stress.

#5. Stress Buster – Reduces cortisol production.
The stress-induced hormone that suppresses the immune system and breeds anxiety.

#6. Reduces blood pressure and heart rate,

7. Boosts the immune system.
As we reduce our stress, the immune system is ignited which makes us more resistant to viruses and infections.

#8. Increases neuroplasticity
The brain’s ability to organise itself, while it adapts to demands and enables you to become more efficient in the learning process.

#9. Increases the production of good neurotransmitters including serotonin and dopamine.
Our infamous mood hormones.  As a result of low levels of serotonin, we can experience periods of severe depression.

#10: Meditation reduces physical and emotional pain (better than morphine)

Now this blew us away – hear this…..potentially the most amazing benefit of meditation is that it has the capability to reduce mental and physical pain better than morphine….. yep i had to read it over and over!
Now read it again… Imagine the impact to find that freedom? And .. breath.

Source: Check this Huffington Post research summary

Source: International Journal of Yoga

And there is more! If this is what it can do for our physical wellness …imagine what it can do to our mental wellness?


**(To find out more about CORTISOL refer to our BLOG on
THE EFFECTS of STRESS: Navigating the nervous system – the SYMPATHETIC & PARASYMPATHETIC ) publishing June 2019 **


ZEN 10

PSYCHOLOGICAL
HEALTH BENEFITS



#1. Meditation reduces anxiety and depression. Firstly, when we meditate, the brain and nervous system undergo radical changes.
One study found zen-type meditations significantly reduce stress when practised over a period of three months. Another study revealed that meditation literally reduces the density of brain tissue associated with anxiety and worrying. If you want your stress levels to plummet, meditation may be the answer.

#2. Increases stress resilience.
When we are able to switch off the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) and trigger the parasympathetic nervous system (relaxation) on a regular basis, we are training our bodies to rapidly recover from the impact of stress.

#3. Increases positive emotions.
The cycle starts by reducing stress, as a result, we feel calm, then we connect to the present so even more confidence flows.

4. Increases focus & present moment awareness.
Meditation stimulates the pre-frontal cortex with key responsibilities  for concentration, focus and problem solving

#5. Increases emotional stability and intelligence. By reducing our stress levels, our hormones balance out – we feel less reactive, less defensive and effortlessly balanced

#6. Increases your capacity to learn. By stimulating the pre-frontal cortex, we are also awakening the brains learning centre. More brain volume = more brain power.

#7. Increases empathy and compassion.  Evidence-based studies scientific studies reveal that our ability to be compassionate and empathetic is a brain game. Regular meditation rewires the brain and increases our ability to be able to consider the feelings and needs of others and how we could be of service. Loving-kindness meditation (sometimes called Metta) is a compassion-based meditation that enhances brain areas associated with mental processing and empathy.

#8. Increases a sense of connection to your self and others.
The more you meditate the more you become aware of who you are therefore creating a connection to self-love and happiness.

#9.Increases your sense of purpose. Life takes on greater meaning and you feel a deeper sense of purpose and satisfaction.

#10. Improves sociability.
The power of belonging and connection to self improves our ability to connect to others. It also increases your sense of social connectedness. Not a huggy-type person?… You just might become one after trying Metta (loving-kindness meditation)

Sources:  The American Journal of PsychiatryScienceDirect

SourcesUS National Library of Medicine,


It’s not necessary to attend any of the scheduled events to reap the benefits of World Meditation Day 2019.

Simply find a peaceful spot where you feel relaxed and happy.
A triple bonus will be if you can access nature!
Touch nature, close your eyes, relax and reflect.
Tips to help you meditate anywhere.

Many of our clients at Tides of Change find concentrating on a single sentence helps them to focus and empty their mind, while others like to play soft music to help block out other background noise.

There is a multitude of apps available to help focus the mind.
Take a look at your App store to see what resonates for you. Tides of Change has got into the zone with the following Apps:

Headspace
CALM
BUDDHIFY
ENSO

Imagine creating a daily habit that will create abundant joy and happiness in your life. Give it whirl. Imagine 6 months from now knowing that you started something today that created even more personal freedom in all areas of your life knowing you are aligning yourself to tell your best story.

At Tides of Change, we believe that establishing healthy habits is key to reigniting our energy & vitality.
Reducing stress is fundamental to a truly healthy life.

Travel lightly to shine brightly,

Sarah Linton

Principle Coach | Tides of Change
Habit Change | Health |Resilience