The Healing Effects of Meditation – Challenging But Worth It!
Most of us engage in activities that help us unwind. Whether it is fishing in our favorite lake, knitting an afghan or running five miles, we know exactly what makes us forget our troubles at least for a while. But usually these techniques bring only a short interlude of peace. Meditation, which actually trains the mind, on the other hand, can have long-lasting affects.
But how exactly does meditation work? If it were that easy, if all that was required to rid our lives of stress was the act of meditating, wouldn’t we all do it?
The fact is that it’s not that simple. Meditation requires total concentration of the mind. Basically, meditation is the art of focusing on nothing, or rather on focusing on one point, thereby stilling the mind. And this is harder than you might think. But as those who practice meditation regularly will attest, the payoff is worth it. Clearing your mind of thoughts releases the toxins that cause stress and any consequential ailments.
According to a recent Huffington Post article, troops returning from battle are seeking alternative methods of treatment for their battle fatigue — methods beyond drugs, which may not have the success rate hoped for, and in fact often do more harm than good. Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs researchers have found that meditation along with other yoga techniques can help calm the part of the brain that the stresses of war launch into a state of “hyper-arousal.”
A Washingtontimes.com article describes a study of a group of Marine reservists who participated in an eight-week mindfulness course, meditating for an average of 12 minutes a day. The study found that those participating in the study slept better, had improved athletic performance and scored higher on emotional and cognitive evaluations than Marines who did not participate in the program.
The art of meditation takes perseverance… and patience. But with continued practice, at least a few minutes every day, you will discover a greater sense of purpose and clarity.