Studies show that, despite the conveniences and technology of life today, people are more stressed than ever.
This can even be said of children and young people. Depression in children and teenagers is increasing. Children may experience the pressures of societal violence, over-involvement, and over-scheduling. They also pick-up the stresses which often disrupt family life.
Medical studies have shown that regular meditation helps adults and the young to relax and lower their stress.
- Meditation lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body. (American Journal of Psychiatry, 1992 Vol 149:557-559)
- Meditation helps to decrease the symptoms of anxiety and depression. (American Journal of Psychiatry, 1998 Vol 155:536-542) Dr Harold Koenig, director of Duke University’s Centre for the Study of Religion/Spirituality and Health, says meditation “boosts morale; lowers agitation, loneliness, and life dissatisfaction; and enhances the ability to cope in men, women, the elderly, the young, the healthy, and the sick.” (quoted in Modern Healthcare, 31 March 2003)
- Meditation helps to decrease substance abuse. (Southern Medical Journal, 1980 Vol 73:723-727)
- Meditation reduces blood pressure. Regular meditation has been found to lower blood pressure and heart rate. According to Duke University Medical Centre study, there are physiological changes that occur in the brain when a person meditates. The hypothalamus releases chemicals that lower blood pressure, lower muscle tension, lower heart rate, and increase the lungs’ capacity to carry oxygen. (Modern Healthcare, 31 March 2003)
- Meditation enhances human well-being. Meditation Seminars on Mental Health organised with an inter-religious dimension by the WCCM, affirm the importance of the spiritual aspect of meditation in enhancing human well-being.
- Meditation leads to a healthier immune system. In hospital studies, meditation has been shown to speed physical healing after surgery. It also enhances the immune system by elevating levels of interleukin-6, an immune system protein involved in combating a wide variety of age-related diseases. (International Journal of Psychiatry and Medicine, 1997 Vol 27:233-250)
- Meditation helps people pay attention and concentrate. In this regard, meditation has been particularly effective in helping children with learning and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorders. Such were the findings of the private Chelsea School in Silver Spring, Maryland. After meditating twice a day, the fifth-to-twelfth-graders had a greater ability to pay attention and learn. Similar results were found in recent meditation studies in two primary schools in England. After meditation, the children in the studies showed an increased ability to concentrate and listen, greater self-discipline regarding physical movement (stillness) and emotional outbursts, and increased ability to handle distractions. (Pastoral Care, March 2001:31-35)
- Meditation Seminars on Mental Health organised with an inter-religious dimension by the WCCM, affirm the importance of the spiritual aspect of meditation in enhancing human well-being.