Updated: Jun 28
Let me break down why I meditate, and the science behind why meditation is beneficial for balancing the mind, body, and soul.
If five years ago you had told me I would be teaching meditation professionally, I probably would have scoffed, laughed, and asked"do you even know me?"I was the definition of Type-A personality, and I had no time to just sit and do nothing.(That's what I thought meditation was: sitting and doing nothing.)
Plus at the time, sitting alone with myself, even for a few minutes, was a struggle. I was not a huge fan of my own company, so I'd constantly find ways to distract myself from being alone, whether it meant calling a friend, or reading, or networking, or working, or watching something on Netflix.
Then I sat down to meditate for 30 minutes a day, for 30 days, and meditation changed my life.Meditation made me happier, calmer, a little saner, and a lot more balanced. Meditation taught me to fall in love with myself at a time when I felt completely out of love with myself.
There is science to back up the way meditation initially impacted my life. Studies show 20 minutes of meditation a day actively works to decrease our stress hormones (particularly cortisol and adrenaline). This works because meditation impacts our amygdala, or the part of our brain which controls our reaction to stress, a.k.a. our fight or flight response.
The amygdala is great because it kept our ancestors alive when there was a predator around. But too much amygdala reactivity (when there is no big tiger around the corner that wants to eat us), actually leads to an excess level of stress hormones in the body. Since the peaked stress hormone levels are not used for their intended purpose (to run away from a predator), we tend to suffer.When excess stress hormones continue to circulate throughout the body, we eventually feel their mental and physical effects.
An increased level of stress hormones in the body impacts our daily lives: we may suffer from insomnia or become anxious, depressed, and fatigued—ultimately we will feel out of touch with our minds, our bodies, and ourselves.
Excessive stress may make us feel like we are unable to focus on work or school, or our personal relationships may begin to suffer.Excessive stress hormones in the body also impact our monthly cycle negatively(I'll share more on that in later issues).
Meditation helps us reestablish the connection with our minds and our bodies, decreasing our tendency and reactivity to stress. And when stress hormone levels decrease, we sleep better, we are less reactive in conflicts, we are more productive, and we are happier.
So though a doctor may not have prescribed this specific treatment for you yet, try to challenge yourself to meditate for at least 20 minutes a day for a month and notice the impact it has on your body and mind.
For more Mother Yin content sign up for our bi-monthly newsletter here.