If I asked you to just stop and close your eyes and try not to think in this very moment, my guess is you would not be able to keep your mind from creating some kind of distraction or internal dialog. This incessant internal chatter keeps you from being able to settle down. For some, it’s that same chatter that keeps us awake at night unable to fall asleep.
In meditation, you journey from activity to silence. You go beyond the noisy thoughts in the mind and enter a state of restful awareness. You’re in a state of deep rest, yet your mind is fully alert and awake. In this state of restful awareness, the body experiences many healing effects that are opposite of the fight-or-flight response including:
Decreased heart rate
Normalization of blood pressure
Reduced production of stress hormones
More efficient oxygen use in your body
You don’t have to be an advanced meditator to benefit from meditation. Studies and research shows that you will begin to reap the benefits of meditation within about two weeks of a regular daily practice. When you meditate on a regular basis, you are giving your body all of the benefits of deep rest, which gradually help to release the accumulated effects of chronic stress and restore your body to its natural state of balance and health.
Meditation is a powerful tool for awakening new neural connections and even transforming regions of your brain. As researchers have found, meditation can even change the brain’s structure in ways that decrease habitual stress patterns and promote calm.