How does meditation work?


| 6 Comments

While trying to think of what to write for my blog post I got really tired and thought of how nice it would be to just relax. Then I got to thinking and wishing I could instead meditate to release all of the stress that I had built up inside of me from the past weeks. I then began to wonder why do we feel so good after we meditate? How do all of these different feelings come from such a sometimes simple activity like meditating? Why should we meditate? In order to answer these questions I decided to look at an article called Meditation: What It Actually Is, Why It's Awesome, & How To Get Started by Phil Drolet.

The article talks about how meditation slows down the breathing of the person doing the meditation and also controlling what we are thinking. The breathing according to Mr. Drolet brainwaves1[1].jpgacts as a connection between the thinking and the body. This also allows us to concentrate on our thought and to think more deeply and focused then we usually would not only on our thoughts but also on what our body is telling us. The article goes on to state that people go through the different patterns of brain activity. We first start with the Beta Stage, moving to the Alpha Stage, then to the Theta Stage, and ending with the Delta Stage. Each stage has the brain wave activity slowing down a little bit more from the previous stage. Each stage is also harder to get to. The author then talks about at the Delta Stage of having a feeling of being so relaxed that he feels like he is almost floating. He then goes on to state that the Delta Waves are similar to those that a normal person would experience if they were inside a deep restorative sleep.

Essentially we are so relaxed that our body is basically in a state of being in restorative sleep. Knowing that we are essentially in a restorative sleep I wanted to look up why we should meditate, besides the obvious answer that someone is like being in a restorative sleep. The answer to this could possibly be that because most of our lives are so hectic with us constantly running around we do not take time to relax and try to think out the stuff that we learned. By meditating we allow ourselves to take a break from the daily routine and think things through as we are meditating. It allows our brain to attempt to sort out all of the different stuff going on and try to make sense of it. I also wanted to look at some other benefits of meditating. Accord to the website BBC News website there was a study done of 41 different people at Wisconsin University. The study involved having 25 of the participants attend a weekly class and one seven hour retreat. The group also did at home meditation exercises, while the control group did not do any type of meditation. At the end of the experiment the scientists measured the electrical activity in the frontal part of the brain. They say this region was more active on the left side in the individuals who meditated and was associated with lower anxiety and a more positive emotional state. The participants also recieved a flu shot with the meditation participants having a higher level of antibodies then yoga_lead_gallery__522x400-420x0[1].jpgthose who did not meditate.

Meditation is definitely good for the body because it helps the body relax and put it into a feeling similar to that of a restorative sleep. The meditation also allows the brain to think freely and figure out daily problems or situations that could be troubling it. Meditation is defiintiely a good idea to practice.

6 Comments

I was wondering if it was possible to meditate with your eyes opened? I feel that with your eyes closed you can reach the state of self-hypnosis but with your eyes opened you body cannot reach this state because of the the distractions you would see going on around you. Furthermore if you can in fact meditate with your eyes open, how do you determine the point at which you have begun meditating? Just some questions which ran through my head while I read your blog, would be interested to hear what you thought. Here's a link that I found useful, it helped answer a lot of my questions -http://www.freemeditation.com/articles/2009/12/04/21-frequently-asked-questions-about-meditation/

I go to yoga twice a week on campus, and at the end we have a little mini relaxation session. Afterwards I feel so refreshed and amazing. I think more people should look into things like yoga and meditation for stress-management and relaxation. There have even been a few times I've fallen asleep in the 10 minutes we use to relax, because I'm so completely relaxed. Maybe meditation could help people with insomnia get to sleep without the use of sleeping pills. I don't know much about the chemistry behind insomnia, but according to what I've read, insomnia is triggered less by chemical stimulus and more by psychological and emotional issues. If insomnatics practiced meditation regularly, they might be able to calm their brains enough to get some sleep.

I go to yoga twice a week on campus, and at the end we have a little mini relaxation session. Afterwards I feel so refreshed and amazing. I think more people should look into things like yoga and meditation for stress-management and relaxation. There have even been a few times I've fallen asleep in the 10 minutes we use to relax, because I'm so completely relaxed. Maybe meditation could help people with insomnia get to sleep without the use of sleeping pills. I don't know much about the chemistry behind insomnia, but according to what I've read, insomnia is triggered less by chemical stimulus and more by psychological and emotional issues. If insomnatics practiced meditation regularly, they might be able to calm their brains enough to get some sleep.

Meditation is a really interesting topic from a scientific perspective. There are a wealth of studies exploring all of the physiological and cognitive processes we go through while meditating, as well as all of the effects. One thing that specifically interests me is the effect meditation has on cellular aging. This study, for example, examines the link between telomere length (which is related to longevity and aging) and meditation practice. I urge you to go through some of these google scholar search studies listed, I found them really exciting and informative about how far-reaching practicing meditation is on physiology!

Especially as students in college it has to be of the utmost of importance to find time to truly relax. Meditation is a key way to take some time to yourself and really get to know yourself. There are classes here in state college where they can teach you how to meditate and as previously stated above yoga is a good way to start but to learn how to truly meditate is a skill that will not only help in the short run but also later in life.

I have tried meditating with my eyes open, and while it's more challenging, it's definitely do-able! It works if you gaze at a certain object, but don't analyze it. It's just there, in front of you. If you are able to look more internally, the external focus isn't as important.
I like how meditation is also focused on the breath. Taking long, deep breaths is often enough to calm us down, and evoke stillness. It's amazing how many times I get caught up in my day realizing I've gone hours without taking a full, complete breath. Meditation allows us to visit more with the simple, yet totally valuable parts of human nature.

Leave a comment

Subscribe to receive notifications of follow up comments via email.
We are processing your request. If you don't see any confirmation within 30 seconds, please reload your page.

Search This Blog

Full Text  Tag

Recent Entries

Hybrids
Everyone has heard of them as being the best car out there, mainly cause of gas prices. Hybrids are sweeping…
Break-Ups
People everywhere are breaking up, just in time for the holidays. And the more couples I see parting ways, the…
Pregnancy Tests
While browsing Andrew's blog and looking to see all of the posts that I missed (I'm pretty sure I haven't…

Old Contributions