Keeping Your Brain Fat and Body Lean
How to Get the Benefits of Meditation Without Meditating
By: Tamala Last Updated: January 20, 2021
You’ve seen the headlines, you’ve read the blog posts, you know you should learn how to meditate but…
Is the thought of sitting down and repeating “OM” on repeat, or paying attention to your breathing is just a little too hippy dippy woo woo for you?
As with most things...
there is more than one way to skin a cat.
But first, let’s talk about the benefits of meditation. The list of benefits include:
- Increases in productivity
- Stress reduction
- Mitigation of stress-related diseases such as:
- High blood pressure
- Chronic pain
- Skin Disorders
Very importantly, it has been linked with a reduced loss of brain volume, in a study they found that “age-related gray matter loss was less pronounced in meditators than in controls.” Think of the implications for dementia and Alzheimer’s.
In another study documenting the health benefits of yoga and meditation they found that yoga and a meditative practice increased BDNF(Brain Derived Neurotrophic factor), CAR (cortisol awakening response), boosted the immune system and contributed to an overall increase in well-being.
BDNF does a whole host of things including helping you to lose weight, improve memory, help with depression, improves insulin response and the list goes on.
Cortisol is the glucocorticoid which is secreted by your adrenal glands located atop your kidneys. Cortisol is high in the morning and drops off gradually during the day. Some of the more important functions of this hormone is regulating your sleep/wake cycle, it’s a part of your fight or flight response and plays a role in regulating metabolism.
Your immune system, well, you know what that does – everything from fighting cancer to fighting the common cold. Keeping your immune system strong should, obviously, be a top priority.
Now, are you sure you don't want to give meditation a try?
Still No huh?
Using creativity as a form of meditation.
Creating art can be a form of meditation. Allowing your creativity to flow allows you to get in touch with a deeper part of yourself while releasing the tensions of the day resulting in a greater feeling of well-being.
One study researched the different psychological and physiological effects of creating art and found that those subjects who created art had better “psychological resilience (i.e., stress resistance.)”
Another creative outlet that can be akin to meditation is dancing. When you’re dancing you can express your emotions using your body moving through space riding on the waves of music releasing all your pent-up feelings and negative energy from the day. Dancing has been called a moving meditation.
A study Dancing Mindfulness: A Phenomenological Investigation of the Emerging Practice found that the participants reported “improvements in emotional and spiritual well-being, increased acceptance, positive changes to the self, and increased application of mindfulness techniques and strategies to real-world living.”
Mediation has many benefits. If you’re ready to try the “real” thing there are many apps devoted to helping you begin a meditation practice. A few I particularly like are Oak-iOS, Calm-iOS, Calm-Android, Headspace-iOS, and Headspace-Android.
Otherwise, pull out your paints, crayons, colored pencils, or clay and immerse yourself in creativity.
Alternately (or also) pump up the volume and get your groove on! Dance like there’s no tomorrow! Your health, both physical and emotional, will thank you.
In Peace, Love, and Health
Forever Young(er): potential age-defying effects of long-term meditation on gray matter atrophy
Yoga, Meditation and Mind-Body Health: Increased BDNF, Cortisol Awakening Response, and Altered Inflammatory Marker Expression after a 3-Month Yoga and Meditation Retreat
Why making art is the new meditation
How Art Changes Your Brain: Differential Effects of Visual Art Production and Cognitive Art EvaluationOn Functional Brain Connectivity
Dance as a Moving Meditation