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  • There's a new study coming out about meditation almost every week touting its benefits, but

  • how does this ancient technique really work?

  • We need to look at a few physiological processes to understand why meditation is so great for

  • us.

  • Firstwhen we meditate, there are changes in our brain wave patterns.

  • Depending upon our statethat is, if we are asleep or awake, the brain creates waves

  • based on its activity that can be measured on an EEG.

  • A simple 20-minute meditation session will start to transition the brain waves from Beta

  • or Alpha to a Theta State.

  • Meditation has also been known to slow the rate at which our heart's pump blood, and

  • the rate we breathe.

  • These slowed states of physiological functioning are associated with a reduction in stress.

  • In brief, a fast heart-rate and quick, shallow breathing causes a cascade of stress-response

  • actions in our bodies, like pumping out more stress hormones like Cortisol.

  • Cortisol is linked with heart disease, depression, poor gut health and more.

  • So, meditation indirectly lowers stress, which makes us healthier.

  • The next thing that happens when we meditate, is that we stop running from the subconscious

  • thoughts that are secretly running our lives.

  • As we sit and focus on our breathing or consciously observe the thoughts that arise without judgement,

  • we can mindfully experience our deeply held emotions and beliefs.

  • Often we're reacting to life instead of acting out of the present moment.

  • Meditation allows a small gap between the stress-responsethat fight-or-flight mechanism

  • which causes us to fear every situation and react to it, instead of empowering us with

  • a feeling of strength and calm.

  • When was the last time you reacted to a stressful situation with a peaceful feeling that everything

  • would be o.k.?

  • Most of us simply run around trying to put out fires, or run from them as fast as we

  • can.

  • Meditation reduces our physiological stress so that we can handle mental and emotional

  • stress with more acumen.

  • Athletes train their muscles to perform better under stress.

  • You can think of meditation like training your mind.

  • The next time you get caught in traffic, you run late for an appointment, or someone does

  • something to hurt your feelings you'll be able to act in the present moment instead

  • of reacting to stored fears and emotions lingering just below the surface.

  • You'll be as strong in your mind as that champion boxer is in his bodyonly you

  • won't need to fight.

There's a new study coming out about meditation almost every week touting its benefits, but

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