Life-changing Effects of Meditation

Mindfulness meditation
A woman doing mindfulness meditation

You’ve probably seen celebrities on TV vouching for the life-changing effects of practicing meditation regularly. And you might be a bit skeptical. After all, your reasoning could be that those people have everything they could ever want. And if that’s the case what could possibly put their psychological or emotional state in turmoil that would result in them becoming easy candidates for the highly-touted results of meditating?

While you have a point, it’s important to note that meditation is for everyone. Regardless of your color, race, or social status, the practice welcomes you. It welcomes you with open and loving arms, despite whatever sense of incredulity you still hold. Let meditation embrace you and enjoy these positive consequences of being, simply, right here right now.

Cures psychological disorders

Meditation is popular among those who suffer from chronic anxiety. It does not take an expert to say with certainty that conscious breathing easily calms the nerves. It can help curb symptoms of depression too. So the next time you feel the blues setting in, breathe in and out and find your center.

If you suffer from an eating disorder, meditation will help you re-align your thought pattern. For example, match your binge-eating recovery plan with a mindfulness practice so you’re not only feeding your body with something healthy but your soul as well.

Improves memory and attention

There will come a point in your life when for some reason retaining new memories becomes difficult. Or retrieving old memories for that matter. It could be because of aging. Or something happening in your brain circuitry triggered by recent trauma. Meditation will help you address this problem. The more you take the time to sit down for a moment of mindfulness, the better your memory will improve.

Another popular concern among technology-reliant people, which covers pretty much all of us, is our dwindling attention span. From time to time you need to turn off those gadgets and return to the basics. Meditation will help you regain the capacity for attention you lost due to always being in front of black mirrors.

Aids in stress management

Are you on the verge of burnout? Do you feel like any day now you will throw a tantrum at the office that will put your career in jeopardy? It’s time to sit back, relax, and listen to your breathing.

Stress is caused by going through things too fast. You need to slow down. Your mind and body need to rest. Mindfulness practice is an exercise that comes in the guise of resting. Use it to better manage your stress levels. In no time you’ll be ready to once again take on your job responsibilities, not with caffeine and adrenaline but pure joy.

Helps curb the onset of physical maladies

A lot of physical illnesses can be traced to unmanaged stress. And stress levels are significantly lowered through regularly practicing meditation. You can easily put two and two together.

If you have cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases running in your bloodline, the more you need to meditate. Keep those diseases at bay by ensuring your body releases as few toxins and free radicals as possible.

Fosters self-acceptance

Sometimes we expect too much from ourselves. We put too much pressure on ourselves. We blame ourselves for past mistakes. We plot unfair expectations. And when we fall short, we spiral into episodes of crushed self-esteem.

Mindfulness recalibrates our brain. It teaches us to accept where we are and where we’ve been. That makes where we’re going clearer and more realistic. That goes without saying that we’re still free to dream and dream big for that matter. But those dreams will be more grounded, based on our intuitive power, our deeper connection to our innermost purpose, the reason why we exist.

If you haven’t yet, it’s high time you practice meditation. The life-changing effects listed above should be enough to convince you. Rest assured that this uncomplicated habit will steer your life in its most fulfilling direction.

Plus, now more than ever, you need to find your center, to breathe with ease and peace. There are so many bad things happening around you that are enough to test your sanity, even your physical health. Do not allow yourself to be swallowed by all of this negativity.

As soon as you learn mindfulness, you will find yourself letting go of the things beyond your control. You will, as a result, become more in control of your emotions, thoughts, and how you react to the world.

From Genetics to CBT, Here Are Some Ideas People Don’t Know Much about Anorexia

How much do you know about anorexia? in this post, you will learn more about anorexia treatment options and why it’s more than a mental problem.

Anorexia is a nagging health problem

Anorexia nervosa is one of the eating disorders that doesn’t hold back. Both the short- and long-term effects of it can be devastating, and it can also be life-threatening. But the struggle that comes with seeking help and getting treated may stem from the limited ideas people have about it. Two of these include kinds of treatments available and genetics.

1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Is the Only Treatment Available

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a psychosocial intervention that helps patients in two significant ways. First, they learn to identify their beliefs, habits, or processes that may be causing the problem. Second, they discover ways to change these negative cognitive processes to regulate their emotions and behavior.

When it comes to anorexia treatment options, CBT is the gold standard. In fact, it’s so effective that it is often the first line of treatment in many facilities. But standard CBT isn’t all there is. For one, enhanced CBT can also work. It may be even more helpful for patients who may have more than one eating disorder as the symptoms for these conditions can also overlap.

Yoga can also be a supplemental therapy for those with anorexia. In a 2018 study, a team of researchers recruited adult females with various eating disorders. Some of them participated in an 11-week yoga intervention program. The researchers also conducted a follow-up after six months.

Based on the results, the intervention group reported reduced eating concerns and better restraint than the control. The difference in outcomes between these two also significantly increased after half a year.

In a much earlier study, yoga showed to be just as helpful for adolescents with anorexia. In the experiment, more than 50 participants between 11 and 21 years old received either standard care only or yoga plus conventional treatment in eight weeks.

Upon analysis, both groups experienced a reduction of symptoms, but those who also practiced yoga reported more significant decreases. Their food preoccupation also declined after every session.

2. Anorexia Is All in the Mind

Many people consider anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders to be a psychiatric problem only. More studies showed that it might be more complicated than previously thought. It may also explain why some people are prone to it, why there are no single anorexia treatment options, and why many can still relapse.

One of the landmark studies included that of the University of Vienna. In 2017, the researchers revealed an association between chromosome 12 genetic anomaly and anorexia. This locus also has a link to autoimmune diseases, as well as insulin regulation and type I diabetes.

In 2019, the King’s College London seemed to corroborate the 2017 Austrian research. The paper published inNature Geneticsclaimed that it might be partly a metabolic disorder. The genetic basis of the disease overlaps with metabolic traits. These include insulin, body measurements, and lipids or fats.

Despite more types of research showing the disorder’s genetic connection, people with anorexia and their families can cling on to some hope. First, predisposition doesn’t always dictate outcomes. Second, these studies may lead to more targeted treatment options in the future.

As the saying goes, knowledge is power. For people with anorexia, it offers more doors to healing and that therapies can be as individualized as possible. Most of all, they understand that while they cannot control everything, they can still manage many areas of their health.

Three Things You Need to Know about Modern Medicine Versus Traditional Practices

Technology has put information about every possible topic at our fingertips, and that includes medical advice. Even if you don’t have a medical degree, a quick online search can yield dozens of websites, blogs, and informative videos on what might be causing symptoms and what actions to take. Unfortunately, not all of this advice is sound, and without years of formal study, it can be hard to distinguish fact from fiction.

Modern Medicine

When an individual’s health is at stake, most people will consult their doctor. However, in today’s information-driven world, an increasing number of patients have come to learn about traditional medical practices. Even without ample scientific evidence, these forms of alternative treatment are on the rise. What separates the two systems, why are they treated differently, and should we choose one over the other?

Traditional Medicine

Scientific methods lead to advances

This probably won’t come as a surprise to you, but the modern medical system works due to the rigors of the scientific method. Evidence-based studies are conducted and subject to peer review so that results can be replicated anywhere; if several studies and trials conclude that a drug works in a particular treatment, it’s not a fluke. Scientific progress also brings advances in technology across the board; the closer you are to innovation centers, the more you get to witness the difference.

In a tech capital like Redwood City, an orthodontist will have cutting-edge equipment and offer advanced procedures, for instance. The advent of Western medicine across the world has led to dramatic gains in life expectancy and reduction in child and maternal mortality. There is a clear gap in statistical results between countries that have adopted these advances and those which, for various reasons, have yet to do so.

Traditional practices on the rise

Despite its undeniable benefits, modern medicine also has its shortcomings. Clinical trials may take time to be validated sufficiently, causing delays in much-needed treatment hitting the market. A drug may be tested rigorously for its effectiveness, and subjects may not show any adverse reaction during the test period, but only later would some people start to learn about long-term side effects.

Even though you could say that people who become disillusioned with modern medicine are in the minority, there’s no question that their search for alternative solutions has brought traditional practices into the mainstream. Herbal remedies and supplements such as ginkgo biloba and ginseng are widely available; many establishments offer conventional treatment methods such as acupuncture or chiropractic care. The practice of yoga, in particular, has been embraced as a way of improving overall well-being instead of treating a specific disease.

Combining both approaches

Traditional practices have been handed down through generations; many have survived over centuries. They work through experience, but aren’t tested scientifically; some people may benefit, others may not. Western medicine can be slow to progress but has achieved incredible results as a system. Both approaches can benefit from each other. Traditional methods can integrate modern systems and provide a therapy-based treatment such as homeopathy. Scientists can mine the list of traditional remedies for various diseases, and refine these herbs into cures such as artemisinin for malaria, or lovastatin to lower cholesterol.

Effective health care doesn’t have to be a battlefield of modern medicine versus traditional practices; practitioners stand to gain by learning from both. For the individual, what matters is still receiving the right treatment from a qualified professional.

How To Plan Meal If You Have Type 2 Diabetes?

Do you want to make your own diabetes-friendly meals for lunch? Read on to learn some important nutritional reminders that you should keep in mind.

Meal planning and preparation can sound overwhelming, especially if you lead a busy life. However, if you want to better manage your Type 2 diabetes, meal-prepping lunches can help you do so.

The key to managing Type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) is to maintain blood sugar levels through both medical and nutritional interventions. However, many people who live with Type 2 DM find planning and preparing their meals too tedious, and therefore not worthwhile.

While planning, cooking, and packing meals may seem overwhelming, you can easily get used to the routine with some practice. However, you’re never going to reach that level of meal-prepping prowess if you don’t start.

Here are some tips for meal-prepping Type 2 DM-friendly lunches:

1. Consult with a nutritionist

A nutritionist can help you

Speak with a licensed nutritionist-dietitian or an autoimmune disease help center in Boise, Idaho to find out how many calories and macro nutrients you should be consuming. A nutritionist can help you come up with a meal plan that’s tailored to your needs and preferences, as well as give you tips on how to prepare delicious DM-safe lunches. Moreover, if you’re having trouble choosing the types of food you can eat, a nutritionist can give you a list of safe and unsafe foods.

2. Upgrade your salads

A salad is probably the best low-carb lunch you can make. It’s easy to create and if you choose the right ingredients, a salad lunch can be very delicious.

salad pic
Salad is really important in Diabetes

However, salads can get old if you choose the same old combination of vegetables, protein, and dressing. Try adding new ingredients to the mix, such as avocado, squash, watermelon, or arugula. Make hearty salads, light salads, or fruit salads, and then switch them up for each lunch. Aside from increasing your vitamin and mineral intake, salads are relatively low in calories and carbohydrates, which is good for Type 2 DM diets.

3. Eat more whole grains

Whole grains are better for diabetics than refined grains since they contain more fiber, which helps stabilize the body’s blood sugar levels. Moreover, whole grains are richer in protein, vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals, which are all essential in combating other diseases such as obesity and cardiovascular disease.

Choose whole grains for your lunches, such as brown rice, whole wheat bread, whole wheat tortilla, whole oats, buckwheat, quinoa, and barley, among many others. Since these foods are generally more nutritious than foods with refined grains, you won’t have to compensate for nutrients using your protein and fat sources.

4. Reduce fat intake

Consuming just the right amount of fat is also essential in managing diabetes, as well as preventing other non-communicable illnesses such as hypertension and cancer.

When preparing your lunches, choose lean proteins (e.g. chicken, fish, turkey, lean beef), low-fat dressings and condiments, and low-fat or non-fat dairy products. Avoid frying your food in oil and use other cooking methods instead, such as boiling, steaming, sauteing, or baking. If you’re craving for sweet or salty food, opt to make your own “junk food” or desserts (e.g. homemade potato chips, air-fried French fries, fat-free sorbet, etc.)

Having Type 2 diabetes doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with your lunches. You just need to tailor it to your nutritional needs. So, for the next time you meal-prep, remember these tips to make great, healthy, and diabetes-friendly lunches.

Effective Ways to Relax and Recharge from Stress

Choosing to focus on your well-being may be difficult because of the never-ending demands of today’s society. Hustle culture seems to be the norm nowadays, where people often find ways to push themselves to the limit. Aside from this, financial demands are also increasing because of the expensive prices of goods and other necessities.

Stressful lady at workplace
Stress has become a common phenomenon everywhere

As a result, people try to put in more overtime at work. Some look for other sources of income to survive. Indeed, it’s natural if you feel the need to work harder to ensure that you make enough money to finance your needs. It’s also an effective way to help you achieve your goals and improve your life. However, you should never forget the importance of taking care of yourself, especially your health.

How to Practice Self-Care

Ensuring that your physical and mental health is in the perfect state provides a lot of benefits for your mind and body. It also allows you to enjoy your life more and avoid experiencing too many negative emotions. You must pay more attention to your physical and mental health to give yourself a chance to recharge. Here are some easy ways that can help you practice self-care:

  • Fix your schedule-Revisit your daily schedule and see if there are some items that you can cross out from your to-do list. Make sure that you manage your time wisely and that your schedule won’t make you too exhausted. Include some time for quick breaks so that you don’t feel overworked throughout the day.
  • Find time to perform physical activities-Find time to exercise so that you develop more physical strength. Go for a run every morning or enroll in a yoga class. Being physically fit and active helps strengthen your immune system. As a result, you will become more productive, and you can handle your obligations without any issue.
  • Schedule a “no work” day-Have a fixed schedule where you don’t have to think about work or other things that make you feel stressed or exhausted. Visit a massage spa in Pleasant Grove or enjoy a quiet time reading books at home. Do something that will help take your mind off things that disrupts your peace of mind.
  • Spend more time with your loved ones-Have fun or spend some time with your family and friends. Socializing can help you experience fun activities. It can also give you a chance to keep in touch with your support system.
  • De-clutter at home-Find time to get rid of unnecessary stuff at home. Make sure that your home is clean and organized so that you won’t feel distracted all the time. Your home should be a place where you enjoy doing things that lift your spirits rather than add to your negative emotions.

Paying attention to your overall welfare should be your priority. Keep in mind that if you are physically or mentally unhealthy, you won’t be able to accomplish tasks effectively. You will also find it more difficult to reach your goals because your body may shut down from exhaustion. To prevent this scenario, always find time to practice self-care. Don’t hesitate to call in sick or have a quick vacation to take a break from the stress and pressure around you. Remember, it’s better to prevent yourself from burning out so that you can continue doing things you need to do. It also helps you find time to pursue your passion or do something you love from time to time.

Can Meditation Replace Sleep?

Several yogis and meditators have reported sleeping just one hour per night as a result of their deep meditation practice. But whether meditation can actually replace sleep is a question that requires some scientific investigation.
While there are many anecdotes of people needing less sleep when they start meditating, science helps us understand whether meditation is a good substitute for sleep.

In this article, we’ll first cover how meditation can improve sleep quality and the extent to which it can replace sleep. Next, we’ll talk about how to meditate correctly to achieve optimal shut-eye, as well as discussing the best meditation app for sleep.

Meditation and Sleep

Mind and its usages.
The modern world can make it very difficult for the mind to rest. Whether or not meditation can replace sleep, it can certainly help you get more and better quality slumber

“In this fast-paced, information-overloaded modern world, one of the few times that we stop our persistent informational consumption and inwardly reflect is when our heads hit the pillow.” – Matthew Walker, Ph.D.

There are three main keys to restful sleep, and meditation can help with all of them.

Having a calm nervous system

Stress is one of the biggest enemies of sleep because it puts your body into a fight-or-flight state, activating your sympathetic nervous system. Most of us spend our days “revved up” because we get inundated with notifications, worries, plans, tight schedules, and many other factors.

The stress response is the same for worry as for physical events. This can make it very difficult to fall asleep when you want to because your brain thinks that a lion may be attacking while you’re lying in bed!

But meditation is a solution to this problem. It calms the body, putting you in a rest-and-digest (parasympathetic) state. As a result, you can feel tired when it’s time for bed and fall asleep quicker.

So while one person might be in bed by 8pm and not fall asleep until 10pm if they are in a fight-or-flight state, a meditator could go to bed at 10pm and fall asleep immediately. Since many people count their amount of sleep by what time they go to bed, in this case the meditator has “replaced” two hours of sleep with some meditation.

2. Maintaining a regular sleep-wake cycle

Melatonin is a key hormone that you produce naturally when it’s time to fall asleep.

But unfortunately, the modern world is throwing off production of this natural hormone with blue light (from screens), caffeine, and stress. This can completely throw off your sleep rhythm and make it difficult to fall asleep when you want to.

Furthermore, since melatonin helps you remain in a deep state of quality sleep throughout the night, people who produce less melatonin can wake up feeling like they didn’t get enough sleep.

Once again, meditation can help with this. One study found that meditation nearly doubles melatonin levels on average! So when it comes to establishing a regular sleep schedule and feeling ready for sleep when you lay down, meditation is a great way to activate your natural sleep rhythm and get a quality night’s sleep.

Quieting your “monkey mind”

Some scientists like Dr. Deepak Chopra posit that we have about 70,000 thoughts per day. It’s an unverifiable claim, but the point still stands: our minds love to think.

Thinking is fine, but it can pose a real problem when you’re trying to fall asleep. You know that feeling when the mind continues to chew on events from the previous day or anticipate the next day’s events? And even when you manage to fall asleep, the mind can still remain overactive leading to low-quality sleep.

When you meditate, the mind can relax into a restorative state even though you’re still awake. The brain goes from producing higher-frequency beta brain waves (how fast the neurons in your brain are firing) seen in awake, normal consciousness, to slower alpha and theta waves that allow the mind to relax (see below). Advanced meditators even show enhanced gamma waves, but that’s a topic for another article.

Meditation can induce more relaxing alpha and theta brain waves, putting the mind into a restorative state

Since meditation may improve your quality as well as your quantity of sleep, in this sense it can also replace wasted time spent in a state of low-quality slumber. It’s important to note, however, that your brain also requires delta waves found in deep sleep and in Yoga Nidra, a particular type of meditation that we’ll talk about next.

Now that we’ve covered the science of sleep as it relates to meditation, I’ll briefly describe how you can use meditation to improve your sleep quality.

How to Sleep Less with Meditation

In the book The Relaxation Response, Harvard researcher Dr. Herbert Benson claim that an hour of meditation is equivalent to sleeping 3-4 hours. But Dr. Benson later admits: “Meditation is therefore not a form of sleep; nor can it be used as a substitute for sleep. Meditation evokes some of the physiologic changes that are found in sleep…”

While science is still studying the extent to which meditation can replace sleep, it certainly seems to be true that meditation can in some ways reduce the amount of sleep we need, or at least our feelings of tiredness.

What is the best type of meditation for sleep?

Here are the top techniques for getting to sleep quickly and achieving deeper states of mental restoration:

Yoga Nidra Meditation

At least 3,000 years old and originating in India, Yoga Nidra lies at the intersection of meditation and sleep.

The objective of Yoga Nidra is twofold: on one level, it can lead us into restorative states of sleep, and on a deeper level we can use it to explore and reprogram the subconscious mind.

Yoga Nidra can produce deep delta waves, the same as deep sleep, even while you remain consciously aware. Importantly, no other meditation technique will have these effects, and so Yoga Nidra is the best tool for replacing sleep if you are going to go that route.

2. Tranquil Breathing Meditation

This technique uses a deceptively straightforward concept, the breath, to calm your nervous system and bring your brain into a state of coherence.

The first aspect of Tranquil Breathing involves using your full diaphragm by breathing into your belly. This will activate your rest-and-digest system, removing stale air in the lower lungs and giving you maximum energy from the breath.

Next, you establish a regular rhythm and smoothen the breath until you feel your mind begin to relax. To learn more about this technique, here’s an article explaining the science and method of meditation for breathing.

3. Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation has been shown by research to improve sleep quality.

While you may spend most of our day identified with thoughts, this causes a lot of trouble when you’re trying to fall asleep. Mindfulness Meditation involves noticing thoughts, feelings, and sensations without getting wrapped up in the content. You simply notice whatever appears in your mind in each moment, and then let it go like a cloud drifting harmlessly through the open sky.

If you want to learn and practice all three of these techniques, there’s a meditation app called FitMind developed with the help of monks and neuroscientists that teaches them step-by-step with expert instruction.

The Best Meditation App for Sleep

When it comes to using guided meditation for getting a great night’s sleep, some apps are better than others.

While certain apps may claim to lull you off with “sleep stories” or calming music, there are more effective, science-based techniques for falling into a deep sleep very quickly. Yoga Nidra, Tranquil Breathing, and Mindfulness Meditation have been practiced for thousands of years in the Far East, but so far only the latter method is taught on most apps.

FitMind teaches all three of these techniques so that you can use them for the rest of your life whenever you have trouble sleeping. FitMind was created with input from monks and neuroscientists and was ranked #1 best meditation app for better sleep by CNET.

FitMind is recommended as the best meditation app for sleep because it teaches advanced techniques that help your brain begin to produce deep delta brain waves.

There’s solid scientific evidence to suggest that meditation can significantly improve sleep quality. And if you’re serious about finding out whether meditation can replace sleep or are looking to master highly effective bedtime meditations, we recommend checking out FitMind, which is the best meditation app for sleep currently available.

About the Author: Liam McClintock is an RYS Certified Meditation Teacher with a B.A. from Yale University. He is currently completing a Master of Science (M.Sc.) in Applied Neuroscience at King’s College London.