Meditation comes up in the news all the time as the newest “hot thing” to do for your heath. It has tons of research support for improving mental and physical health, but I was shocked to learn that its benefits for stress were only confirmed in the past few days.
We know meditation can help quiet the mind, but this new study showed the meditation also helps calm the heart. When we are stressed, our heart physically beats differently and researchers have now found how to observe the combined changes of meditation, heart beat, and stress. Yoga meditation was found to have the strongest effect and the positive effects aren’t limited to only the period of time spent meditating. The physiological benefits, such as a calmer heart rate, persist even after the meditation session has ended. Some of those positive effects include mental ability for goal-oriented thinking, which requires strong executive control.
Again, we often underestimate the interconnectedness of mind and body.
I personally do not meditate as much as I would like–meaning I don’t make it a priority in my life. I’ve downloaded Headspace and really need the catalyst to commit and turn it into a daily practice.
I pride myself on learning about health, integrating healthy habits into my life, and setting a positive example, although this is one are I just can’t seem to budge.
Everyone struggles with certain things like this. For example, I work at a company focused entirely on wellbeing. We preach mindful eating and taking short breaks at work, yet everyone eats at their desk while working…what’s up with that? It’s HARD to make the right healthy choices. We have to prioritize them. My coworkers would have to think “well, this email can wait until I’ve enjoyed my salad and caught up with a friend”, and I would have to say-, “pause your anxious mind for these five minutes and simply be.”
When it comes down to it, we all have to pick our battles and choose the ways we want to honor our wellbeing.
What are healthy habits you are striving toward? What’s stopping you?