Recent studies have shown that people today live a longer life, but the overall quality of health is deteriorating, especially mental health.
A 2016 report shows that Indians have the longest working hours in the world - 52 hours a week, ahead of China, Japan and USA which average at 48,46,45 hours/week respectively. Moreover, most Indians report their major health concern is fatigue. The long working hours and looming deadlines, pollution, difficult relationships and numerous other pressures create stress and subsequently poor mental and physical health.
WHO Global report on Mental Disorders report that 7.5% of Indian Population suffers from anxiety and depression. Most of us don't know how to handle our mind and emotions. Neither at home nor at school are we taught how to make ourselves happy, calm and build the resilience to handle the pressure of life situations without losing our balance.
In the recent years, the world has rediscovered meditation as an effective tool to improve mental health, build emotional and stress resilience and to be happy! This easy to learn and practice technique has numerous benefits impacting all areas of our life.
Meditation allows us to access the areas of our brain that are responsible for deeper thought and cognition, allowing us to be creative and have improved decision making. Meditation allows us to be alert, sharper and have an improved memory. MRI brain imaging has shown that the brain function of a 50-year-old person who meditates is same or better than a 25-year-old. Researchers are exploring meditation as a treatment for diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson as well.
With our current lifestyle, most of us are chronically sleep deprived, which causes our brain to function at a sub-par level and creates problems like mood disorders, weakened immunity, weight gain and increased risk of heart attack and diabetes. A review of 16 studies found that sleeping for less than 6 to 8 hours a night increases the risk of early death by as much as 12 percent.
Meditation has also been linked to improved quality of sleep. Numerous studies show that people who Meditate sleep better and spend more time in deeper States of sleep, compared to normal controls. An internal pilot study conducted by SSIAR on Sahaj Samadhi Meditation shows that meditation can add up to an hour of sleep per night within a few weeks of practice; it improved quality of sleep and also helped people get off the sleep medication.
Impact of Meditation is deeper than we think. Not only does it impact our mind and behaviour, making us happy, focused and aware, it also changes our DNA. Studies show that people who meditate age much slower as meditation protects the telomeres, the ends of our chromosomes. As the telomeres degenerate, so does our body and mind.
In words of Bhanumati Narsimhan, Meditation is no longer a luxury but a necessity in life. For a healthy, happy and youthful life, meditate. Invest your time into taking care of yourself, from your genetic and spiritual self.
Credits: Divya Kanchibhotla - a Meditation Trainer and the Executive director of Sri Sri Institute for Advanced Research, the Research Wing of Art of Living.
Sahaj Samadhi Dhyan Yog program is happening across India from 4-6 May via webcast. The program will have live sessions with Bhanumathi Narasimhan, teaching this effortless meditation to thousands across the length and breadth of the country through technology. The experience of meditating with thousands more is another special phenomena. For more details, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.