Mindfulness has gone from fringe ritual to mainstream health move, and for good reason. Doctors at prominent hospitals regularly recommend it for conditions like insomnia, chronic pain, and irritable bowel syndrome. According to a September 2016 article that appeared in a special edition of Time Magazine called Mindfulness: The New Science of Health and Happiness - here are some ways meditation changes your body:
1. Your brain releases happy chemicals: You get a boost of serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins, all linked to good mood.
2. Pain diminishes: It appears to change the activity in key pain-processing regions of the brain. In one study meditators experienced a 40% reduction in pain intensity.
3. Swelling subsides: It can reduce stress-induced inflammation from inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and asthma.
4. Digestion runs more smoothly: Stress triggers the stomach-churning flight-or-flight instinct, shutting down digestion. When relaxed, the body reboots the parasympathetic nervous system, which gets digestion flowing.
5. Blood pressure drops: And the effect isn't just temporary - a Medical College of Wisconsin study showed that people who meditated twice a day for 20 minutes lowered their blood pressure by 5 mm Hg.