• Amy Ray

Are You Investing In Your Mental Fitness?

Just as important as keeping your body fit is keeping your mind fit. Meditation, deep breathing and stillness are a powerful way to move your mind and keep you healthy and vital. Modern imaging techniques have enabled neurologists to delve inside the brain and discover that healthful things go on in the mind and body during meditation.

Studies show that meditation:

lowers blood pressure boosts the immune system lowers heart rate reduces stress improves healing from heart disease and cancer slows the progression of cancer improves sleep relieves anxiety and depression accelerates weight loss lowers cortisol levels

So how exactly does Meditation affect our brains? Thanks to PET scans and functional MRIs, we know that during meditation, the left brain literally lights up. Simply put, meditation shifts the focus of thought from the right brain, where the stress centers are, to the left brain, which contains the peaceful centers. Meditation seems to protect the brain from disturbing environmental stimuli and thoughts.

While meditation is an ancient healing tool, it seems especially relevant in modern times. It can help us unplug from our smartphones and Facebook feeds and tune into the wiring of our own minds. To get the most out of meditation, remind yourself you are NOT wasting time or doing nothing.  Fitter people breathe more deeply and more slowly. Take a moment to focus on how you breathe—do you breathe deeply and slowly, or are your breaths quick and shallow? Take a moment each day to focus on your breathing, and practice taking deeper, slower breaths so you can be sure you’re aerating the tissue in your lungs.

You can create a meditation memory for yourself.  When you begin your meditation practice, begin by placing an essential oil that you love in the palm of your hand and rub your hands together. Cup your hands around your nose and mouth and inhale deeply.  Utilizing the aromatherapy will help your brain create a memory of that meditation experience.  When you smell that scent in the future, your brain will remember the last time you used it....at the beginning of your meditation!     

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