5 Reasons You Should Practice Daily Meditation for Health and Wellness
Many studies have shown the benefits of meditation for health. Different kinds of meditation create different benefits, but the most beneficial kind of meditation for health specifically is one that allows deep rest in the body and the release of stress.
This post focuses on five main benefits of regular meditation for health, and specifically how Vedic Meditation affects the body when practiced consistently.
1. Calming the Nervous System
Our brains and nervous systems are the electrical system and information transit systems of our bodies. This system comprises about 100 billion neurons, governing about 70 trillion cells. Each of these information pathways needs to be able to send data easily and accurately in order to have the most optimal physical response.
When we load our nervous system with stress every day, some of the stressors will create stress memories in our cells. Consistently dumping stress chemicals into our bodies changes the way our bodies perform and respond. Certain survival functions go into hyper-sensitivity, while other functions (digestion, sleep) slow down.
If we don’t stabilize and rest our nervous system enough to release the embedded stress, we’ll continue to ‘use up’ the capacity our nervous system has to respond to the world. This leaves us with very little stress resilience, and with less and less attention to feel healthy, notice what our body needs, and enjoy our lives.
Vedic Meditation brings the mind beyond thought effortlessly with a special mantra assigned to each meditator by their qualified instructor. That experience of transcending thought allows the brain and nervous system to rest deeply. When we experience the state of no thought, which is a place of total contentment and peace, our nervous system learns what that state is like and begins to mimic it slowly in our waking life.
Resting deeply through meditation is one of the essential benefits of meditation for health, since it releases embedded stress and gives our brains and bodies more capacity to maintain health.
2. For Insomnia
When we have too much stress embedded in our cells or affecting our day-to-day life, we can easily start to experience problems with our sleep. Sleep is a foundational part of health, in fact, it’s where most of our healing occurs. When we’re suffering from sleep problems consistently and severely, we may be experiencing sleep onset insomnia or sleep maintenance insomnia. These two types refer to the struggle to fall asleep and the struggle to stay asleep all night, respectively.
Since the body heals and releases stress at night, we always feel best after a night of deep, sound sleep. It’s important to sleep deeply so that the stress-release process doesn’t wake us up. Stress releases while we sleep as dreams, as movements, and as natural functions of the body that would be uncomfortable if we were awake.
If there is too much stress for the body to process at night, we’ll be left with incessant thoughts that keep us awake or a high level of stress release that wakes us up after we fall asleep.
When we meditate with a Vedic Meditation mantra twice each day, we’re doing the work of releasing the stress in our waking hours. The body is able to enter a hypo-metabolic state when we allow our thoughts alongside our mantra and we remain in a conscious state. We’ll have thoughts as the stress releases, and the mantra slowly guides the mind beyond thought altogether.
With two twenty-minute sessions of this mantra-based stress release, we’ll not only release the stress of the present day’s activity, but we’ll also start to release old embedded stressors from our cells. This means that when we’re sleeping at night, the body can focus on healing rather than releasing stress, and we find it’s easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Though we shouldn’t rely only on meditation for health and healing, it can be a supportive practice to aid in getting restful sleep at night.
3. For Finding Purpose in Life
We don’t always think about purpose when we think of health and wellness, but when we have a sense of inner purpose and contentment, we don’t have as much anxiety or depression. Our mental health is an important part of our overall health, and the process of releasing stress through meditation can help to ease stress symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Let’s take it a little deeper, though- when we have a sense of purpose, inner peace, and direction in life, many of our mental health challenges naturally give way to energy and enjoyment. Vedic Meditation takes you to the place of transcending thought, which in the Vedic Worldview means you’re interacting with universal consciousness and pure Being.
This field of unboundedness has all of the information there is about your individual reason for being on this planet, and the more you engage with it, the more you’ll naturally be able to sense your direction and reason for being alive.
The field of unboundedness will start to inform your individual consciousness of its unbounded nature, and you’ll begin to sense how your story contributes to a greater evolution of consciousness on the planet.
This doesn’t occur as an epiphany, but slowly unfolds over time as you are less consumed by stress and reaction, and more given to attentiveness, creativity, and sensing what is most relevant in your life.
4. Release Stress
We’ve talked about releasing stress quite a bit already in this post, but it’s important to understand how stress release in meditation affects our health. If stress is the deepest source of any kind of unwellness, then releasing stress through meditation can lead to greater and greater wellness over time.
Imagine having a brain that spends 98% of its computing power processing stress memories, leaving only 2% for experiencing life to the fullest. That person would naturally react more harshly to unexpected changes in their environment, even lashing out or distancing themselves unnecessarily from other people. They would hardly have the ‘presence of mind’ to be their true selves. Instead, the version of the world they would experience is the tired, reactive, distracted version of that person whose life is run by stress.
When we rest the mind deeply, we begin to clear out the inventory of stress not only from that day but from years past. With two 20-minute sessions each day, we can approach every moment in our life with resilience and freshness.
We’re able to be in the present moment and identify the seeds of the future. That’s how we’re able to make good decisions more and more effortlessly– from big life decisions to our simple reactions and responses to daily events. That is also how we are able to use meditation for optimum health– we’ll have more energy and attention to make healthy choices and take care of our bodies appropriately.
5. For Brain Health
In cognitive neuroscience, we learn that the brain constructs and governs our physiology. We’ve talked about health in our nervous system, but we haven’t yet talked about the brain chemicals in the brain that create a sense of wellness and happiness.
In the Vedic Worldview, we say that the body is a printout of our state of consciousness. We mean that in a spiritual sense, but it also applies in a literal sense as well: when we are consistently stressed, sad, or angry, we fill our brains with the matching chemistry.
Our brains are neuroplastic, which means they physically change according to our repeated habits of thought and action. If we have a stress-filled brain or a sadness-filled brain all the time, the brain will actually change to keep firing those habitual signals.
When we train the brain to feel rested and unboundedness, or great adaptability, through meditation, our brain begins to produce the chemistry naturally that we create inside meditation. The experience of transcendence brings a cocktail of ‘bliss chemicals’ into the brain, which the body can then use to carry on its functions and affect your emotions. Studies have shown a correlation between meditation and improved focus, improved memory, and even improved creativity.
Is meditation good for your health?
One of the most supportive health benefits of Vedic Meditation is that it helps give us the ‘presence of mind’ to recognize when we need professional help with our physical, mental, or emotional health. As we exit the constant fight or flight state, we’ll start to be more present to our needs and more willing to seek help when we need it.
Vedic Meditation is not a cure for all maladies, rather it is a supportive practice to release stress from the body and grow our awareness. A Vedic Meditation practice will support any healing journey and create lasting benefits like improved sleep, lower stress, greater stress resilience, and a greater awareness of one’s needs.
Rather than turning to a guided meditation for health that may only create a temporary sensation of wellness, we can learn Vedic Meditation and start a lifelong practice of increased wellness and steady stress release.
To take the Learn to Meditate course with me, sign up for an intro talk or schedule your 4-day course here.