An interesting article on meditation appeared recently in The Week magazine. The editors have a way of informing readers without adding more stress to our lives. They engage the reader without the fear factor that seems a large part of most news coverage. Anything that can help us reduce stress in our lives is important. That is why the article on meditation caught my eye.
Many people think that they don’t have time to meditate daily because of the demands in their daily schedule. I would hasten to point out that your ‘to do’ list will always exist and you will be more effective in completing the tasks if you feel both physically and mentally better. Finding a no cost way to help ourselves – really help in many different ways – is a big deal.
Starting with even 5 minutes a day sitting quietly and breathing deeply will help you get started. It is a form of meditation that works for me. You may choose to increase the time later as your schedule allows but just getting started is the most important step.
Meditation has been promoted to help us get in touch with our higher self, find a greater sense of peace and well being and even help us connect us with our loved ones who have passed on. But imagine my surprise when I read about the positive effects of meditation in relation to heart attacks and strokes!
According to the article, sitting quietly and clearing our minds can ‘dramatically improve heart health.’ The researchers involved in this study divided 200 people with known heart disease into 2 groups. One group was taught to meditate for 20 minutes daily and the other group was taught to use the same amount of time exercising and preparing healthy meals. After a decade the researchers found that those who meditated reduced their risk of heart attack and stroke by 66 percent compared to those who didn’t meditate. The meditators also reduced their blood pressure and said they felt better able to control their anger! “What this is saying is that the mind-body interventions can have an effect as big as conventional medications,” said Robert Schneider, director of the Institute of Natural Medicine and Prevention reporting to WebMD.com.
Although they are unsure of just how meditation works, cardiologist Michael Shapiro said previous studies have also shown that meditation can reduce anger, stress, and increase happiness.
I think it is worth a try – don’t you?