The Shocking Science Behind Stress and Meditation!
The shocking science behind stress and meditation!
Is science a religion?
Meditation is a practice that has been utilised by people all over the world for over 4000 years. The beauty of meditation is that it is an experiential practice. By experiential I mean it is YOU the practitioner's job to explore and become your own scientist and down to you to decide if the practices are working. Through practice, you have the opportunity and ability to catalyse knowledge into wisdom.
In the west, we often believe that science is the truth which some would say is the sign of a fanatic. Currently, worldwide many people have blind faith/belief in science. This is very sad but at the same time great because it means that when scientifically proven evidence and studies come out that back up the ancient wisdom and practices of yoga and meditation people start to take these life/enriching practices more seriously.
The chemical effects of stress on your body
Stress creates an imbalance in the chemistry of your body, this then leads to an imbalance in our mind and therefore your experience of life. Often this imbalance is due to over secretion of the hormone corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF)
Secretion of CRF:
- Activates the release of the stress hormone cortisol
- Increases breathing rate
- Activates the release of the stress hormone noradrenalin
- Increases feelings of anxiety
- Creates stress-induced changes in the gut which results in poor digestion
The extra release of cortisol puts your body into an emergency response which results in a number of ailments including immune dysfunction. The extra release of noradrenalin encourages a sense of fear and anxiety.
This magical process that our body can facilitate autonomically was designed to save us in the event of life-threatening situations (like being chased by a hungry lion). Now that we're living in the 21st century we luckily no longer have to worry about hungry lions but we are all now surrounded by many other stress indicators that constantly unnecessarily activate our emergency response.
These processes in the body are perfectly natural but when an overstimulation occurs on a daily basis these chemical changes in our body can be life-changing and often life-threatening. I frequently hear of people with demanding jobs (high stress/responsibility/long working hours) coming down with a variety of ailments this is often due to the constant stress put on the body because of the overactivation of their sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight mode/chased by a lion survival mode).
The chemical effects of meditation on your body
Meditation techniques raise the levels of DHEA in the body which decreases the effect of cortisol in the body and therefore the effect of stress on the body and mind.
DHEA is a naturally produced hormone in the body.
High levels of DHEA
- Enhanced immunity
- Reduced risk of heart disease
- Improved blood sugar control
- Prevention and reversal of osteoporosis
- Decreased sense of Anxiety
Are you breathing badly?
Stress also has a direct impact on the physiology of the breath resulting in shallow breathing primarily in the upper chest/lungs which activates the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight mode/chased by a lion survival mode) resulting in the release of CRF and cortisol in the body.
Meditation encourages relaxed abdominal diaphragmatic breathing that directly helps to activate the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest response/peaceful,l calm, relaxed hunter-gatherer mode).
A relaxed person is a productive person! Let's just remember for a moment stress isn't necessarily a bad thing it's your action or reaction that is either bad or good. If you're not meditating already I hope this inspires you too!
If you need guidance just ask!
If you have questions just ask!
Retreat with us!