Medical experts have come to agree that if you take care of your mind your body will benefit. What does that mean? It means that if you take time to calm your mind and practice meditation and mindfulness you may notice health benefits in your body by lowering your stress, reducing arthritic or other joint pain and even potentially lowering your risk of Alzheimer's Disease.
What does "mindfulness" mean?
Researchers and practitioners say that mindfulness means an individual has a tendency to focus, tap into their intuition, has greater self-awareness and a better ability to concentrate. It was found that those who practiced mindfulness had lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, lower blood sugar and were better able to control their weight through healthy eating and exercise habits.
It's also thought that being mindful can also help control pain through various practices. Those who practice mindfulness typically exhibit greater calm and a more relaxed attitude and that helps to enhance their heart health.
What baby steps can you take, today, to become more mindful? Take some time away from the computer or other electronic devices. Sit in a quiet area of your home or in the out of doors, sip a cup of tea and focus on the sounds of nature. Take a short walk even if it's around the office parking lot or up and down the staircase at work.
How meditation can benefit your health
Studies have shown that people who meditate have lower blood pressure and a stronger immune system although the reasons why this happens are not entirely clear. There are many ways in which to meditate. Ranging from simply sitting silently to practicing "active" meditation. The focus of meditation is to still the body and mind and effectively shut out the outside world for a period of time.
Meditation can reduce your stress and in today's hectic world, stress can be a literal killer. It's even been shown that meditation can improve the health for those suffering from fibromyalgia.
Meditation can be learned and practiced at home
You don't have to take a class in order to learn to meditate. There are many techniques and disciplines that you could practice and they range from finding and saying your own mantra (think the "Om" chant done in yoga classes) to staring at a candle flame or body of water to counting and focusing on your breaths.
Find a quiet, relaxing spot in your home or the out of doors and set a time every day to meditate. You don't have to devote hours to this, even a 15-minute interlude of meditation can provide benefits. For caregivers, this could just be the treat you offer yourself at the beginning or ending of your day.
Silence is deemed best for meditation but if silence isn't for you, choose some white noise or calming music.
Look at your meditation time as a time of enjoyment and self-care. Don't add it to your "to-do" list and think of it as a chore. It is a treat you're giving yourself for your health.
If you feel you would benefit from a meditation class, contact a local yoga studio and see if they offer classes for meditation.
While the complete science between the connection of mind and body health have not been fully explored, it has been shown that a healthy body benefits your mind and vice versa. As you age, it becomes even more important to take care of our body, mind and spirit.