How Meditation Can Save Your Life By Reducing Stress

Anti-Anxiety Meditation
: How Meditation Can Save Your Life By Reducing Stress

What Is Meditation?

Your Perspective: Meditation is the ability to self regulate internal mental distractions.

Scientists Perspective: A means to enhance brain function and cognition in healthy and impaired individuals.

“Stressed Out” brain compared to a “Blissed Out” brain

The average person has 70,000 thoughts per day

Meditation Goals:
• Meditation exercises the mind in the same way we exercise our body–an active form of brain training.
• It infuses thoughts with greater positivity, love, calm and joy.
• Maintains balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.

Types of Stress:

Acute versus Chronic Stress
1. Acute is a short term stress: Recent and anticipated demands and pressures.
2. Chronic is a long term stress: Poverty, childhood trauma, family disfunction or environmental.

Physiology of Stress:
1. Stressful event occurs
2. Panic and / or tension ensues
3. Increase in hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline, and epinephrine
4. Increased blood pressure
5. Energy diverted from immune, digestive, and reproductive systems

Stress Related Ailments:
• Cardiovascular issues
• anxiety
• sleeplessness
• addiction
• depression
• headache
• weight gain
• pain
• fatigue
• lack of motivation
• weakened immune system

Benefits of Meditation:

Reduction in Test Groups Systolic and Diastolic Blood Pressure
• Medical Students: Systolic -8 MM HG ; Diastolic -7 MM HG
• Coronary Heart Disease Patients: Systolic -5.4 MM HG; Diastolic -4 MM HG
• Elderly Retirement Home Residents: Systolic -8 MM HG; Diastolic -7 MM HG
• Adults with Hypertension: Systolic -4 MM HG; Diastolic -2.2 MM HG

Ability to Reduce Symptoms of Depression, Anxiety and Pain
• Effect of Meditation: 0.3
• Effect of Antidepressants: 0.3

In a Sample of 201 African Americans with Coronary Heart Disease:
A study showed a 43% reduction in risk for myocardial infarction and stroke after incorporating a Transcendental Meditation practice into their daily routine.

Percent Change in Amygdala Activity After Meditation :
• The region of the brain connected to anxiety and stress
• Mindfullness Meditation: -0.13;
• Compassion Meditation: -0.05;
• Control Group (no meditation) +0.05

Increased Gray Matter in the Hippocampus Important region of the brain for learning and memory
• Controls: +.002
• Mindfullness Based Stress Reduction: +.01