So the dog woke me up at 4am.

And what did I do?  I couldnt go back to sleep, so I got up and decided to make my blog post of the day.

Today’s topic is meditation.  No, I’m not talking about prayer temples, fancy robes, and incense.  Just a simple technique with many benefits.  There are at least 100 benefits of meditation, including:

Physiological benefits:

1- It lowers oxygen consumption.
2- It decreases respiratory rate.
3- It increases blood flow and slows the heart rate.
4- Increases exercise tolerance.
5- Leads to a deeper level of physical relaxation.
6- Good for people with high blood pressure.
7- Reduces anxiety attacks by lowering the levels of blood lactate.
8- Decreases muscle tension
9- Helps in chronic diseases like allergies, arthritis etc.
10- Reduces Pre-menstrual Syndrome symptoms.
11- Helps in post-operative healing.
12- Enhances the immune system.
13- Reduces activity of viruses and emotional distress
14- Enhances energy, strength and vigour.
15- Helps with weight loss
16- Reduction of free radicals, less tissue damage
17- Higher skin resistance
18- Drop in cholesterol levels, lowers risk of cardiovascular disease.
19- Improved flow of air to the lungs resulting in easier breathing.
20- Decreases the aging process.
21- Higher levels of DHEAS (Dehydroepiandrosterone)
22- prevented, slowed or controlled pain of chronic diseases
23- Makes you sweat less
24- Cure headaches & migraines
25- Greater Orderliness of Brain Functioning
26- Reduced Need for Medical Care
27- Less energy wasted
28- More inclined to sports, activities
29- Significant relief from asthma
30- improved performance in athletic events
31- Normalizes to your ideal weight
32- harmonizes our endocrine system
33- relaxes our nervous system
34- produce lasting beneficial changes in brain electrical activity
35- Cure infertility (the stresses of infertility can interfere with the release of hormones that regulate ovulation).

Psychological benefits:
36- Builds self-confidence.
37- Increases serotonin level, influences mood and behaviour.
38- Resolve phobias & fears
39- Helps control own thoughts
40- Helps with focus & concentration
41- Increase creativity
42- Increased brain wave coherence.
43- Improved learning ability and memory.
44- Increased feelings of vitality and rejuvenation.
45- Increased emotional stability.
46- improved relationships
47- Mind ages at slower rate
48- Easier to remove bad habits
49- Develops intuition
50- Increased Productivity
51- Improved relations at home & at work
52- Able to see the larger picture in a given situation
53- Helps ignore petty issues
54- Increased ability to solve complex problems
55- Purifies your character
56- Develop will power
57- greater communication between the two brain hemispheres
58- react more quickly and more effectively to a stressful event.
59- increases one’s perceptual ability and motor performance
60- higher intelligence growth rate
61- Increased job satisfaction
62- increase in the capacity for intimate contact with loved ones
63- decrease in potential mental illness
64- Better, more sociable behaviour
65- Less aggressiveness
66- Helps in quitting smoking, alcohol addiction
67- Reduces need and dependency on drugs, pills & pharmaceuticals
68- Need less sleep to recover from sleep deprivation
69- Require less time to fall asleep, helps cure insomnia
70- Increases sense of responsibility

71- Reduces road rage

72- Decrease in restless thinking
73- Decreased tendency to worry
74- Increases listening skills and empathy
75- Helps make more accurate judgements
76- Greater tolerance
77- Gives composure to act in considered & constructive ways
78- Grows a stable, more balanced personality
79- Develops emotional maturity

Spiritual benefits:
80- Helps keep things in perspective
81- Provides peace of mind, happiness
82- Helps you discover your purpose
83- Increased self-actualization.
84- Increased compassion
85- Growing wisdom
86- Deeper understanding of yourself and others
87- Brings body, mind, spirit in harmony
88- Deeper Level of spiritual relaxation
89- Increased acceptance of oneself
90- helps learn forgiveness
91- Changes attitude toward life
92- Creates a deeper relationship with your God
93- Attain enlightenment
94- greater inner-directedness
95- Helps living in the present moment
96- Creates a widening, deepening capacity for love
97- Discovery of the power and consciousness beyond the ego
98- Experience an inner sense of “Assurance or Knowingness”
99- Experience a sense of “Oneness”
100- Increases the synchronicity in your life

For therapy’s purpose, I suggest that people focus on the benefit of changing their relationship to their thoughts.  I know people are improving with meditation when they move from “I’m angry about this…” to “I notice that I am angry about this…”.

The steps for meditation are really simple.  I usually recommend that it be done once or twice a day, or whenever you need a break (or have trouble sleeping).

1.  Picture your breath coming in and going out from a spot below your belly button.

2.  Focus on your breath.

3.  You will be distracted, naturally.

4.  Casually notice that you are distracted, then tell that which you are distracted by that you are focusing on your breath right now and that you will return to it later if needed.  It can take a number.  If you must stop to address it, do so, but shift your focus from your breath to addressing it.  Tip:  if it is a nagging thought, observe yourself writing it down on paper to address afterwards.

5.   Return to focusing on your breath.

That’s it!  I’ve just saved you lots of money on meditation tapes, CDs, books, etc.  Of course, there are more advanced methods, both practical and spiritual.  But this method is free, simple, and can be brought anywhere.  So give it a try!

Some people don’t like meditation for spiritual reasons because of a fear of outside evil entities invading one’s mind.  For that I usually suggest Googling lectio divina (an example coming from my personal spiritual tradition), or simply praying a prayer of protection before starting.

I’d be interested to know if you have tried meditation and/or what your thoughts are about it.  Feel free to comment.

About Nate Prentice, MSW, LCSW, CAS-PC

Nate Prentice, MSW, LCSW is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Pastoral Counselor who maintains a private psychotherapy practice in Drexel Hill, PA.
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3 Responses to So the dog woke me up at 4am.

  1. nebroadwe says:

    I find repeating the Jesus prayer (“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”) in time with my breathing to be helpful.

    • nateprentice says:

      For me, I find that is too many words, although I respect its place in history. I usually use “Jesus” or “God is love” or the like.


  2. Pingback: Staycation vs vacation « Living in the Solution

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