Published in Blog on April 2, 2015
Relaxation and meditation exercises provide important physical and emotional health benefits. Many health conditions and symptoms can be treated, controlled, and reduced by spending a little time each day practicing relaxation techniques, such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, or guided relaxation.
The primary reason relaxation is so effective is that it turns off the body’s stress response. When you experience stress, your body releases adrenaline and cortisol, which increases your heart rate and blood pressure, and directs the body’s resources toward fight and flight, rather than digestion and immunity.
Everyday life exposes us to many situations that can trigger our stress response – traffic, pressures at work, over stimulation from smart phones and computers, and financial strain. As a result, many of us experience an over exposure to adrenaline and cortisol.
Fortunately, study after study has found that regularly practicing relaxation and meditation techniques can improve your physical and emotional well-being. Wondering if relaxation exercises are for you? Do you want to:
Developing a daily relaxation or meditation practice will help you learn to control your breathing, focus your attention, and teach you to produce a state of deep relaxation. By reducing stress, you may also experience improved digestion and better sleep.
2. Boost Immunity
Researchers at Harvard Medical School found that people who engage in a regular relaxation practice turn on their “disease-fighting genes.” Both this study and others found the genes activated by relaxation and meditation techniques can be helpful in increasing the body’s natural resistance to cancer.
3. Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is linked to many serious health conditions, including heart disease, arthritis, and asthma. When your body releases adrenaline and cortisol in response to stress, it can increase overall inflammation in your body. Regular meditation or use of relaxation exercises can help reduce inflammation and control painful and debilitating symptoms.
Relaxation and meditation exercises slow your breathing, which can help you lower blood pressure. High blood pressure is linked to increased risks of heart disease and stroke, so meditation can be a great way to lower your risk of developing these life-threatening medical conditions.
5. Improve Emotional Well-Being
When you practice relaxation and meditation exercises, your brain produces feel-good chemicals, such as serotonin. As a result, regular meditation can reduce feelings of anxiety and the occurrence of negative emotions. Once your brain has calmed down, you might find that you’ve gained new perspective on a stressful situation or are better able to handle it.
It’s easy to learn about relaxation and meditation techniques online, where you can find numerous explanations and downloadable guides on sites such as iTunes and Amazon.com. And once you learn what works best for you, you can practice these exercises anywhere or anytime you need.
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