GUEST BLOGGER: Anna Gokieli
Few would disagree we live in a stressful world. According to the most current medical research, stress either causes or exacerbates 98% of all disease. We all know that sleep is the most relaxing activity that life offers but few have yet to discover that meditation in fact gives the body and mind a much deeper quality of rest than sleep. This has been seen through EEG measurements of the brain, hormone levels in the blood, and cellular metabolism. It might sound too good to be true, but meditation or as I like to call it the practice of doing nothing, simply allows undisturbed time for the body to heal itself by switching off the sympathetic nervous system (responsible for the fight or flight response) and by turning on the parasympathetic nervous system (responsible for the relaxation response). As a result, blood pressure and heart rate slow down, the immune systems fires up, cortisol the stress hormone dissolves, the production of good neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin increases, all this while you are sitting and doing absolutely nothing. Yes, there are thousands of meditative techniques that claim varying degrees of benefits and self mastery but essentially they are all used as training wheels for you to enter the state of simply being and not doing.
Letting go of doing and trying is really the goal of meditation. Essentially this is a practice of surrender.
By simply sitting still, focusing on the body, and engaging the mind with present moment sensations, we are able to train the autonomic nervous system, now that’s pretty cool! And if that’s not already some of the best health news you’ve heard all day; as a result of neuroplasticity (the brain’s ability to rewire itself), when meditation is practiced regularly, you become much better at simply witnessing and pausing before reacting to your day to day stressors. You will quickly notice that unconscious responses like road rage, will becoming a thing of the past.
But the real value of meditation actually lies