Meditation allows us to be put back in a place of peace and self realization. It also allows to give as a place where we can see that our thoughts are really under our control. And as so often is the case a lot of the consequences that occur in life, especially our health are really due to where the energy of the mind is devoted to. Perhaps one of the most amazing effects the mind can have is on the immune system. This can be seen through these couple of studies that show it’s effect on patients with HIV, and a relationship between meditation and number of health care visits a person is likely to have.
Meditation may actually increase white blood cells in those with HIV. HIV being a virus where the immune cells are attacked and eventually to the point where the immune system can't mount a response to invading pathogens. The correlation was strong enough that the scientists we’re able to see that the more mindfulness classes a participant was involved in meant higher immune cells. The study concludes that meditation is a great way to provide additional support to pharmaceutical therapy in people with HIV. And in another study individuals that meditate also show a decrease number of doctor offices and even ER visits as well. Which is actually quite amazing to think about that spending a small part of your day can decrease your chances of going to the ER!
So the importance of meditation on our overall well-being cannot be understated and in our society unfortunately it is greatly undervalued compared to other countries such as China where meditation is a part of life.
In the following I have written steps to meditate. I hope you enjoy!
1. Sitting relaxed on a chair with your back straight, take a deep breath to the count of five.
2. Slowly breathe out to the count of 10.
3. Do this 10 times.
4. While breathing bring your attention to the area right below and behind your belly button. Just imagine the air coming down and connecting to that part of your body. At first you will often find it difficult to keep your attention there and keep your thoughts from wandering, but don’t get frustrated! Just gradually bring your attention back to your breath. This exercise will become easier the more that you do it.
5. After you do this continue throughout your day and put this meditation out of your mind.
1) Relaxation Response and Resiliency Training and Its Effect on Healthcare Resource Utilization. James E. Stahl.
2) Mindfulness Meditation Training Effects on CD4_ T lymphocytes in HIV-1 Infected Adults: a Small Randomized Controlled Trial. Creswell JD.