The mind body connection is probably the least understood aspect of health and I understand that it can be seen as a bit airy fairy to many people. However, there is a lot of evidence that meditation and relaxation do positively effect your health and well being.
Relaxation techniques have been shown to lower blood pressure, decrease the levels of stress hormones in the blood as well as speed up the time you recover from an illness. Even though I do find it very difficult to do, I do feel the benefits of basic meditation. Just simple deep breathing and the clearing of my mind can have a nice relaxing effect and studies show that it will contribute to areas of health when done regularly.
Your nervous system is made up of two parts, the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is known as the “fight or flight” response and is run by hormones like adrenalin and cortisol which keep your body in a state of arousal and anticipation. The parasympathetic side is your “rest and relaxation” side and is responsible for keeping your body calm.
As a society we spend far too much time in fight or flight mode and our sympathetic nervous systems go into overdrive. Relaxation techniques help stimulate the parasympathetic nervous systems and help balance our and calm our day to day lives. When our bodies are flooded with adrenalin and cortisol all of the time it can be very tiring and ultimately bad for our health.