“I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.”
Did you know that almost 90% of illnesses are exacerbated by stress? Today, many physicians are now encouraging some form of meditation. The list of the positive physical benefits of meditation just keep growing. It lowers blood pressure, reduces pain and inflammation, and helps with memory, to name just a few. You can learn more about the physical benefits of Christian meditation by clicking here. If your stress is related to negative thoughts, then also consider some of the methods stated in the section about restoring peace of mind.
Some great options for those who want to reduce stress is to do a walking meditation. With a walking meditation you get the benefits of both exercise and meditation. A walking meditation is very simple. Pick an area you’d like to walk. A pretty place or around the block is ideal. Proceed by walking very slowly and as you do stay completely in the presence moment by focusing on tangible things around you, like flowers, trees, or the side walk. You can even meditate on a sacred phrase like “Christ is my peace” as you walk. The key is that every time your mind wanders off, bring it back to the present moment by returning your focus to the here and now. You will be surprised at how many times your mind is going to wander off like a dog on a long leash. Just like training a dog to heel, you’ll need to continue to yank your mind back into the present moment.
In addition, you would also benefit from a step-by step course as I mentioned before that teaches you some simple meditation techniques. As far as guided meditations, look for those that promote healing, stress relief, or eliminating toxic emotions. If your stress is due to worry, then you might also benefit from a consistent Date with God so that you can dwell in his Presence and turn all your cares and concerns over to Him, and leave them there.
Many experts, doctors, celebrities, and other well-known, credible figures are touting the benefits of meditation. In fact, many physicians are now encouraging their patients to meditate in order to reduce the symptoms of many stress-related illnesses, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, depression, psoriasis, and eczema, among others. Eastern cultures have praised meditation for thousands of years, and now, in the era of controlled experiments and observational studies, we have mounting evidence that many of their claims of healing and stress reduction were spot-on.
But how? What good can it possibly do for us to sit in silence and practice thinking about nothing? What is it that happens to us, physically, when we meditate?
Meditation is a lot like normal relaxation, in some ways– after all, the end goal is a feeling of peace and serenity. When we meditate, our heart and breathing rate slow, our blood pressure drops, we relax muscles we didn’t even know we had, and our immune function improves. Meditation puts out bodies into a place that is perfect for healing.
We have an added bonus with Biblical Meditation, because not only are we getting the physical benefits of meditation, but the transformative benefits of abiding in God’s presence and meditating on His Word– something that we were all commanded to do. Meditation on its own is a tool. Add in faith and it becomes a wholesome, spiritual endeavor. It allows you to feel at peace with yourself and your life. It brings you closer to the Lord.
But what does meditation do from a physical standpoint? I have put together a list of ten ways that Christian meditation benefits your physical body. Here are just a few of the things meditation can do:
1.It increases serotonin levels in our blood.
Serotonin is often considered to be the ‘happy hormone’. Meditation is thought to increase serotonin levels in a manner similar to exercise and essential oils.
2.It lowers blood pressure.
Because it often involves counting heartbeats, slowing down your breathing and relaxing your body, meditating in the light of the Lord is a wonderful way to relax your body to achieve the peace you seek. And, when we are relaxed, our blood pressure drops.
3. It may fight heart disease.
God designed our hearts beautifully, but unfortunately, stress and poor diets filled with unhealthy, man-made foods have resulted in widespread illness. Several studies have shown that meditation lowers blood pressure, including one that found African Americans suffering from heart disease were almost 50% less likely to experience heart attack or stroke.
4. It grows the best parts of brain.
A study spearheaded by a Harvard neuroscientist discovered that, over a period of eight weeks, those who meditated experienced growth in five different parts of the brain. This included the parts of the brain that are responsible for learning, emotions, empathy, compassion and kindness, and self-awareness. God has given us all we need to make sure our brains stay strong and healthy. Christian meditation is the way to feed them!
5. It shrinks the parts of your brain responsible for anger and anxiety.
This was one of the most interesting findings in the Lazar study– the group who meditated experienced shrinkage in their amygdala, which causes anger, fear, paranoia, and anxiety. This may be why meditation is so excellent at reducing stress across the board!
6. It can help with addictive behaviors.
Addiction isn’t just a result of a physical dependency on a given drug– it’s also psychological, and meditation is a great way to fight many kinds of addiction. In one study, people who were trying to quit smoking were found to be more successful if they meditated. Imagine the vices you could shed if you combined secular meditation with God’s support!
7. It improves blood flow all over the body.
This is a side effect of lowering your blood pressure. When you relax during meditation, your blood vessels open up and you take deeper breaths. This allows oxygen to get to every cell in your body. It’s a big, deep breath for your entire being!
8. It improves immune function.
We’re not sure why this works, but it does. Many studies have shown that people who meditate regularly are better at fighting off infections– they get sick less often, and when they do get sick, they recover faster.
9. Meditation can treat chronic pain without medication.
The National Institute of Health has approved meditation as a treatment for people suffering with chronic pain. Some studies have found that it can reduce pain by up to 50%– perhaps due to the increase in natural painkillers in the brain.
10.It improves sleep.
Many studies have shown that people who meditate fall asleep easier and stay asleep longer. It can even help people who are already receiving treatment for insomnia.