Meditation is an ancient practice millions of people do everyday. The aim is to let go of thoughts and emotions, allowing oneself to be still in the moment. For some people, focusing the mind on one object, sensation or idea allows the meditator to free his or her mind of all other outside thoughts and feelings. While this may be quite challenging for some, the practice has provided an improved quality of life for many people. Like most things, people tend to get better, the more they practice it. Studies have shown that long-term meditators have been able to lower their blood pressure, stress and anxiety significantly over time. Many meditators find that doing it a few minutes every morning, before their day begins works best.
Meditation may even delay certain signs of aging in the brain. Neuroscientist Sara Lazar and her colleagues at Harvard University noted in a 2005 paper in NeuroReport that experienced meditators showed greater thickness in certain brain regions compared to non-meditators. In fact, the oldest meditator in the study had the greatest increase in brain thickness, the reverse of the usual process of aging.
While meditation may not be for everyone, it can be another activity to consider in looking at ways to reduce stress and anxiety and enhance the quality of your life. Like yoga and pilates, meditation can be another element in your toolbox of healthy living! The Scientific American A Day in the Life of Your Brain Judith Horstman