We love it when science tells us what common sense has told us all along. Sure, sitting in silence for five to ten minutes a day may seem like a daily indulgence, but what if it was actually a crucial regimen for your health? Bloomberg recently posted an article about Harvard scientists studying the results meditation and yoga have on reducing stress and disease — these mind-body techniques are proving to have quite a positive effect.
The article goes on to highlight a government-funded five-year study conducted by John Denninger, a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School. Denninger uses neuro-imaging and genomics technology to deeply measure physiological changes linked to these ancient Indian relaxation techniques. He has reported that there is a true biological effect and says, “The kinds of things that happen when you meditate do have effects throughout the body, not just in the brain.”
Harvard scientists are rapidly becoming part of the ‘mindfulness’ movement in hopes to persuade more doctors to try an alternative route for stress-induced conditions such as infertility and depression.
The World Health Organization estimates stress costs U.S. companies at least $300 billion a year through absenteeism, turn-over and low productivity. These statistics are causing a reaction from high-profile meditation devotees including Bill George, a board member of Goldman Sachs Group and Exxon Mobil Corp., and News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch.
So where do you begin: with the breath. Just a few minutes of deep breathing can reduce feelings of anxiety in high-stress environments. Yoga and meditation then become the next steps to help transform these moments of relaxation into a daily intention of presence and stability in any challenging situation.
All of these studies are just more proof that science is discovering the effective mindfulness tools that unlock the shields of stress and fear to build a healthy mind-body balance. Sounds like we could all use a little more sitting down and keeping quiet!
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