Unfortunately, our fast-paced way of life leaves almost no time for quiet moments to yourself. The bad news is that this fast-paced way of life leads to us being sicker. The main reason for this: STRESS. The best way to reduce or eliminate that dreaded stress: DAILY MEDITATION. Keep in mind, illnesses such as hypertension, headaches, insomnia, heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and more are all preventable and often brought on by stress.

Modern medicine and ancient Eastern wisdom agree a simple daily meditation practice — 10 to 20 minutes of sitting quietly to take some deep breaths — offers a powerful way to protect and heal our bodies. Here are 3 major ways that daily meditation can actually save your life:

  1. Reduce and manage stress: When we are faced with stress, our bodies respond by releasing certain hormones. Designed to protect us from danger, cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine increase your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate and muscle energy output. While sometimes these hormones can be beneficial, constant exposure to these hormones can damage your body. The deep breathing that is an essential part of your meditation practice will relax your muscles, slow your heart rate, decrease your blood pressure and release healing hormones. In fact, you will reap some of the benefits after just one long, deep breath, while it takes 20 deep breaths to get the full benefits.

  2. Bolster your immunity: Activating your ‘relaxation response’ releases healing hormones, which in turn support immunity. As a result, your body is better prepared to fight infection, inflammation, aging and even protect against damaging conditions such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. Additionally, melatonin improves your quality of sleep, mood, sexual maturation, reproduction and anti-aging mechanisms. Serotonin improves your brain function, and the human growth hormone improves muscle tone, bone strength and skin health.

  3. Increase your emotional well-being: It’s a proven fact that meditation relaxes our bodies, but it also calms our minds. With a calm mind, you are better equipped to see things clearly, make correct choices and choose appropriate responses to stress. Meditation also offers time for reflection and introspection, so you better know who you are and why you do what you do.

Source: “3 Ways Daily Meditation Can Save Your Life”, KSL.com, written by Teri Harman, December 16, 2016.