A simple profound way to meditate is using mantras. Dr. Shanida Nataraja shares another method by Kabat-Zinn in her book, The Blissful Brain, that uses a multi-step process to prepare the meditator (2008, pp. 198-202). The first step is consciously bringing the body into a state of ease (Nataraja, 2008, pp. 198) similar to the Lying-Down Meditation. The next step is to bring your awareness to your breath (Nataraja, 2008, pp. 200). Dr. Shanida Nataraja points to the physiological necessity of slowing down the breath and allowing it to be full to help contradict shallow breaths that activate the parasympathetic nervous system (2008, pp. 200). She concludes by providing a method for quieting the mind which can be to acknowledge each thought as it arises, and then let it go, or to use the repetitive nature of mantra to steady the mind (Nataraja, 2008, pp. 202).
Dr. Nataraja provides evidence of the stress-relieving benefits of meditation. Referring to a study published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences in 2004, practitioners of the transcendental meditation technique showed lower cortisol rates than others (Nataraja, 2008, pp. 170). Cortisol is one of the body’s main stress hormones and is triggered when the body is in fight or flight. However, too much cortisol can adversely affect the body. She also reports that based on other studies, mindfulness-based practices can therefore help alleviate the multitude of stress-induced symptoms such as asthma and IBS (Nataraja, 2008, pp. 172).
While insomnia can be caused by a variety of issues, we often we see stress intricately linked with it. Writer Julie Corliss shares in her article for Harvard Medical School, that a JAMA Internal Medicine study points to how beneficial meditation and mindfulness-based practices can be for those with insomnia (2020). In the study one test group was taught meditation and mindfulness techniques while the other group was taught best practices for sleep (Corliss, 2020). The study concluded that the first group, the one who practiced mediation, had less insomnia and felt more refreshed (Corliss, 2020).
To be continued...
Corliss, J. (2020, June 15). Mindfulness meditation helps fight insomnia, improves sleep. Harvard Health. Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/mindfulness-meditation-helps-fight-insomnia-improves-sleep-201502187726.
Nataraja, Shanida (2008). The Blissful Brain Neuroscience and proof of the power of meditation. Octopus Publishing Group Ltd