When you are unhappy or stressed what do you do? Do you go out for a meal? Go to the cinema? The theatre, perhaps? Do you go shopping? Perhaps you like a drink to overcome your unhappiness or stress. Or do you get a buzz from jogging or going to the gym?
Whatever it is, scientists are in the process of proving that internal change is something that can give you health and happiness.
What does this mean?
Your brain is the centre of operations of your body. So a healthy brain increases drastically the chances of having a healthy body.
Richard Davidson, a neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin and Jon Kabat-Zinn from the University of Massachusetts Medical Centre have just completed some interesting research that can actually be of benefit to you and me and the way we run our lives.
They took a group of 41 stressed, but otherwise healthy, individuals working in a biotechnology firm in Wisconsin. 25 were taught meditation. In this case: mindfulness meditation. The group met for a 2.5 to 3 hour meditation class each week. After six weeks they all attended a seven hour meditation retreat. In addition each member was asked to meditate, at home, for one hour a day using a guided meditation tape.
The other 16 were held as a control group and did not receive meditation training until the study was completed.
At the end of the eight week programme, in November, they also gave all the participants a flu jab. And guess what. The members of the meditation group had a significant increase on antibodies. In other words they had less chance of catching flu.
The bottom line appears to be: If you want to improve health, overcome the day by day blues and maintain happiness learn to meditate. When you meditate you change the way your brain operates.
In addition, they found, the more you practice meditation the better your daily performance is.
”What we found is that the long time practitioners showed brain activation on a scale we have never seen before. Their mental practice is having an effect on the brain in the same way golf or tennis practice will enhance performance. It demonstrates, that the brain is capable of being trained and physically modified in ways few people can imagine.”
So give yourself the space each day to train your brain. It works.