Although stress response is an adaptive reaction, long-term and chronic stress is harmful to health. Different people may have different symptoms and signs caused by stress. Adrenal glands are usually involved in stress responses and generate hormones including adrenaline and cortisol for stimulated senses and reflexes, such as the reactions of “fight or flight.”
Stress can lead to physical changes such as muscle contraction, higher blood pressure, and faster heart rate. In the meantime, the blood is flowing away from the digestive organs and into the muscles and nervous system, with higher levels of molecules for coagulating the blood. Fluids are accumulated in the kidneys, and the immune system is getting prepared for anti-inflammatory actions. These changes are adaptive responses to emergent changes. However, staying in such condition for a long term would be damaging to your health.
On the other hand, meditation can help lower the level of cortisol that is elevated in the stress response. Even though stress is hard to avoid, in today’s society stresses are mostly from our own mind. Meditation can help you relief stress from two ways, by promoting clear thinking for stress reduction, and by working on the physical part directly.
While promoting awareness and confidence with a tranquil mind, meditation can help lower the levels of the cholesterol, blood pressure, and reverse the processes of arteriosclerosis. Meditation can help reduce the onset of chest pain, reduce the risks of heart disease, relief depression, and change the brain wave toward a calmer pattern.
With the power of stress relief, meditation can be used not only for preventive medicine but also for healing ailments including pain and heart disease. As a matter of fact, the three words “meditation,” “medicine,” and “medication” share the same Latin root “medicus” that means “to cure” and “to measure” in its original meaning.
When you can think more clearly and feel better, you would take better care of your own health. Meditation can serve as a jump start toward a healthier lifestyle including healthier eating habits, regular physical exercises, and better sleep quality. All of these can help improve health.