Updated: Dec 20, 2020
We live in a world that is full of stress. We shock our bodies from the moment we wake up to the jarring sound of an alarm clock, to the second we drop off, exhausted, after pulling an all-nighter.
Stress has become such a common part of our lives, that we often forget what it is like to slow down. Being in the moment has become a foreign practice to us, but recent science suggests that not only could practicing mindfulness exercises such as meditation be healing, it might even save our lives.
Meditation does a lot more than just reduce our stress. It can help with the physical healing of our bodies. One study even found that a group of 50 year olds who practiced meditation had the same amount of brain matter in their frontal cortex as 25 year olds. This change isn't just seen in people who have practiced meditation for a long time. Differences can be seen in just a few weeks of meditation.
What meditation does
When you sit down to meditate, you are actively focused on being in the moment. What has happened in the past doesn't matter—it's already gone. What will happen in the future doesn't matter—it's not here yet.
When we focus on breathing, and bringing our mind to a stand still, we are letting go of the stressors caused by the past and the future.
Meditation has been shown to heal very real illnesses, proving effective in fighting high blood pressure, depression, and insomnia. Since meditation works to help relieve stress, it also helps heal injuries associated with chronic stress. Health problems associated with chronic stress include weight gain, mood problems, and physical problems such as headaches and stomach problems.
While no studies have conclusively linked meditation to the healing of acute injuries, there are many anecdotal accounts of people using mindfulness to help them overcome pain and soreness associated with injury.