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Are You at Viral Risk? Meditation Can Help!

Updated: Apr 12, 2022

By Nick Coulter

Passionate Pathways Specialist

It is now well understood that meditation creates higher levels of compassion and empathy. In these times, this is vitally important to maintain understanding and acceptance of the situation and others perspectives. We are all in this together whether we like it or not. It is how we pass our current time and use the gifts that we have been given which will create the biggest shift in health. Thinking positively, and holding gratitude for the health you have, the blessings of the circumstances you have is the best way to cope with our present situation. Positive mindset and emotions are key. Panicking and worrying about catching ill health is the first place to set the environment within your body to make it easier for you to be susceptible to illness. The water experiments by Masaru Emoto demonstrated the power of emotional intent on physical matter which has been reproduced many times in differing contexts. As our body is approximately 60% water, looking after your emotional and mental health directly translates to its physical form. It is very important. It is without a doubt that those who meditate are in a better place physically, mentally and emotionally than those who believe that meditation is something they “just don’t have time for”. There is the ever increasing wave of research which now looks to confirm the basis of what many regular meditators and spiritualist practices have felt for many centuries; that meditation places you in a much better position with physical, mental and emotional health. Studies show that meditating even for periods as short as 10 minutes increases the brain's alpha waves (associated with relaxation) and decreases anxiety and depression. Numerous scientific studies now agree that medication is about treating symptoms and meditation is a preventative practice. These preventative meditation measures are to maintain a healthy and vital ecosystem within the body which reduces the needs for alteration via medication. Continuous exposure to stress and anxiety is known to weaken your immune system due to elevated cortisol levels. (Studies to check out 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). Normally, mental and physical stress cause increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This produces many of the harmful effects of stress, such as the release of inflammation-promoting chemicals called cytokines. What are biologically helpful short term benefits and survival hormones, today have now become chronic exposure and detrimental to our health due to our inability to manage them in our busy routines. Our daily lives and workplace stresses have created environments where stress is the norm, where relaxation and effective distressing practices are sacrificed to completing the demands of work and family life. Because stress hormones suppress non-emergency functions, such as maintaining the immune system, chronic stress can leave many bodily systems at risk. Constant suppression of the immune system, for example, leaves us vulnerable to infections. We have forgotten the ability to detach from stress and have lowered the importance of releasing and dispersing these sustained cortisol levels which have serious negative effects on the body. Continued exposure to these naturally occurring chemicals and hormones can disrupt sleep, promote depression and anxiety, increase blood pressure and contribute to fatigue and cloudy thinking. It is a well accepted fact that effective meditation practice allows for the parasympathetic nervous system to reduce the levels of cortisol in the body so as to lower the stresses and inflammation within the body. This creates a much healthier mental and emotional capacity to cope with stress when we do experience it. Meditation creates higher problem solving skills and allows for easier social collaboration. Much of these stresses we face today could be addressed with these two areas covered. Another 2014 study demonstrated in nearly 1,300 adults that meditation may decrease stress. Notably, this effect was strongest in individuals with the highest levels of stress. So the saying that "those who need it the most, benefit the most" is true. Studies (source needed here sorry) have found that effective meditation is about regularity, not necessarily length. A person who doesn’t meditate is clearly worse off, but any meditation is better than none. Meditation is 99% practice and 1% theory, just do it.. It’s an action which must be maintained and regular to find the greatest benefits. To gain the biggest benefit, a short meditation in the morning and evening compared to a long morning meditation revealed a more effective impact of wellbeing in recent studies (can’t find the recent study, but it’s out there). So, take positive action today and maintain this healthy habit whilst we have so much time at home. A casual start to the day where you have saved all that travel time, spend 15-20 minutes meditating, and join an online class. Please feel free to add your comments and extra links to articles which would be supportive or even contradictory to these ideas. Healthy conversation is always encouraged. Love and Light, Nick Coulter

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