Practitioners become more focused, make better decisions, have more empathy, are more intuitive, calmer, centered and, most importantly, happier.
Meditation is also thought to actually change the brain by regulating emotions and rewiring the thought processes of the brain. Meditation helps practitioners pay attention to and become aware of how they feel. This is empowering and leads to conscious choices about self-care, including how we treat ourselves, who we surround ourselves with and what we put in our bodies.
According to Dina Kaplan, founder of The Path, meditation does improve health. “It reduces the production of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the body, so it literally makes you healthier,” says Kaplan. “It also helps you be more focused, relaxed and creative.
Stress releases cortisol in the body, which decreases immunity. Stress can also shrink the caps on our DNA, called telomeres, and research shows that directly leads to visible signs of aging. Acceleration in the signs of aging stems from wearing down the body’s genetic defense, destroying telomeres. Negative thoughts or worrying trigger a negative emotional response which can, over time, shorten the length of a telomere.
Stress comes in two forms: actual stress and perceived stress. So, whether stress is an actuality or you simply think you are stressed, both have negative consequences. Luckily, meditation can slow the shrinking of telomeres, which will slow the signs of aging.
Ask yourself if you want to continue to feel stressed; realize that you have the choice to take a moment to be grateful for the good things going on in life, rather than worrying about those that are not perfect. Even if you don’t have control, work on training your mind to accept the situation as it is or at least be thoughtful about your emotional response to it.
According to Kaplan, meditation may also help with workouts and fitness goals. “You can use visualizations to motivate you to get to the gym. Meditation also makes you more mindful, including about what’s important to you,” she says. “If your goals include staying healthy, feeling good and looking good, then you’ll work out more, because meditating will inspire you to stay on track with those aspirations.”
Learn to let go of toxicity–people, relationships, negativity, emotions or physical pains–in order to bring in new energy, re-calibrate the system and maintain a strong and healthy body and mind.
During your mediation practice, don’t skip the om.