Meditation is a mind and body practice used by cultures all over the world for "increasing calmness and physical relaxation, improving psychological balance, coping with illness, and enhancing overall health and well-being," explains the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. It has been an important part of human activity, with evidence of meditation seen in Indus Valley wall art dating from approximately 7,000 years ago, reports Psychology Today.
Meditation is practiced not just in Buddhism but also in Christianity (e.g., monastic life and praying the rosary), Judaism (Kabala) and Islam (Tafakkur and Sufism), explains Psychology Today. In many ways, the history of mediation and the human propensity to contemplate life and the universe is what unites people across cultures. Meditation is a humble reminder that we (and our religions, faiths and beliefs) are not all too different from one another.
In recent years, scientists have turned their attention toward the health benefits of meditation. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, meditation may reduce blood pressure, fight symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, relieve anxiety and depression and treat insomnia. It's no wonder our ancestors naturally turned to meditation.
Pioneer of integrative medicine Deepak Chopra cites a host of studies that suggest meditating boosts the immune system and prevents illness. Chopra recommends meditating once in the morning and once in the evening to stave off illness. It is important to remember that meditation is only effective if it is practiced regularly and over time. It is not a one-time solution but rather a lifestyle choice.
If you are new to meditation, you may want to try a guided meditation. The guided visual meditation below is specifically designed to boost the body's natural defenses. So be kind to yourself. Set aside an hour, find a quiet place and begin your journey to health and wellness. If an hour seems like a long time, even a five-minute meditation break can do wonders. Pop on some headphones and give it a try right where you are.
5-Minute Guided Mediation:
1-Hour Guided Mediation: