Rania Nassar

Meditation is wonderful

Take a moment. Breathe. Focus your mind. Slow down and read each word. Become aware of yourself reading this sentence, this paragraph. You, sitting there, focusing on each word, one by one. Become aware of each sound as it echoes in your mind, the one you’re hearing right now, and this one, and again and again and again. The voice in your mind reading this to you, is that you? If so, then who is doing the listening?

Meditation is an ancient practice that dates back thousands of years. Despite its age, this practice is common worldwide because it has benefits for brain health and overall well-being.

Meditation is shown to thicken the pre-frontal cortex. This brain center manages higher order brain function, like increased awareness, concentration, and decision making. Changes in the brain show, with meditation, higher-order functions become stronger, while lower-order brain activities decrease.

Meditation can strengthen areas of your brain responsible for memory, learning, attention and self-awareness. The practice can also help calm down your sympathetic nervous system. Over time, mindfulness meditation can increase cognition, memory and attention.

20 minutes of meditation is equivalent to 4-5 hours of deep sleep.

The emotional and physical benefits of meditation can include:

* Gaining a new perspective on stressful situations.

* Building skills to manage your stress.

* Increasing self-awareness.

* Focusing on the present.

* Reducing negative emotions.

* Increasing imagination and creativity.

* Increasing patience and tolerance.

* Lowering resting heart rate

* Lowering resting blood pressure

* Improving sleep quality

* Decreased symptoms of anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

* Improved ability to think, concentrate and solve problems.

* Better ability to adapt to and overcome emotional problems

* Pain

* Insomnia and sleep quality

* Substance use disorder

* Weight control and eating behavior

* Attention-Deficit hyperactivity disorder

* Better focus and concentration

The goal of meditation is not to get rid of thoughts or emotions, but to become more aware and conscious of your thoughts and emotions and learn how to move through them without getting stuck.