The body has it easy: itgets plenty of hydration and nutrition; it gets lots of healthy physicalactivity; and it gets 6 – 8 hours of rest each night, with many breaks duringthe day. Meanwhile, the mind is active at all times. There is a constantbackground of mental chatter; even when our bodies are at rest, the mind isbusy dreaming. It is rare that the mind is truly quiet.
One way to improve mentalwellbeing is through meditation. There are a variety of approaches tomeditation, from yoga to zazen and integrative mind-body training totranscendental meditation. They all serve to reduce the number of activethoughts in our minds, creating a sense of inner stillness and quiet. After ameditation session, you are likely to have a calm sense of awareness and focus.The body feels relaxed; the mind feels refreshed.
A true meditative state isdifficult to achieve. It can take years, or a lifetime, of practice to be ableto reliably shift the mind into meditation. Removing all thoughts from the mindis a challenging task. Yet even though there are few true meditation masters,the benefits of meditation are available to everyone. The basic skills are easyto learn; even sitting quietly for a few minutes is healthy for the mind.
Given the long history ofmeditation and its devoted practitioners, many scientists and researchers arekeenly interested in how it might benefit the mind and body. One finding isthat the parts of the brain involved with positive emotional states become moreactive during meditation; feelings of well-being increase. Also, duringmeditation our breathing rate tends to slow down while heart rate and bloodoxygen saturation levels rise. This prepares the mind for states of greatercreative awareness and insight. Meditation is also known to reduce stress,decreasing anxiety levels.
In short, meditation hasthe potential to make you happier, more creative and less stressed. The abilityto make yourself calmer, quieter and more aware is a valuable skill to learn –and there are many options and opportunities for learning meditation andimproving cognitive wellness. You’ll soon have a healthier mind that can keepup with your healthy body.