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Meditation Challenge

 If someone had told me that just 1 minute of meditation a day would…wait! I’ve heard of the myriad benefits. But have I tried it? Well, yes and no. I’ve meditated when commanded to do so in a yoga class, or during a retreat. But on my own I was prone to fussing about the pillow I was sitting on, or the room that I was going to sit in, and the clothing that I was going to wear. In short, I would spend more than 5 minutes procrastinating, and then felt like I didn’t have enough time to meditate!

It is incredibly intimidating to meditate. To allow your thoughts to become like clouds that pass over the sky. Forget it. My thoughts are like tornados. Or quieting the monkey mind, yeah that’s apt, it’s like a zoo in my brain! When I have time to actually sit and listen, I need a pad of paper next to me to write down all the “to-do’s” I have swirling around in there. Meditating is prime time to snatch all those thoughts out of the swirl and write them down. But that’s not really the point of meditation.

Recently, however, I have been really called to sit down and meditate. Maybe it’s that the head-chatter has become so loud with starting a medical practice and business, and looking after a toddler, and having a partner who has chronic migraines, that I couldn’t ignore it any more. Maybe it’s also due to hearing about some great new apps on the market that can help with meditation. In any case, I began meditating in late December and the effects were profound. Even after a 16 second meditation. Everyone has time for 16 seconds of meditation. I made it a goal for the 2019 year that I would meditate daily. It lasted about 20 days. But I am committed to jumping back on the meditation train because I was beginning to crave those seconds or minutes to myself.

As everyone knows, it’s much easier to stick to your health goals when you have support from friends. I created a Facebook group for those who are interested in support. This will be a forum for people to discuss their experiences, share information, and support each other. I have also posted a few app links to help you get started.

For those of you who maybe haven’t heard about all the health benefits of meditation or need a refresher, I’ll outline a few here:

  • Meditation increases parasympathetic tone, this is associated with a lowering of stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline), vascular tone (hypertension), and inflammatory markers.[i]
  • Meditation can increase brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which helps increase neuroplasticity, or changing the ways our brains and peripheral nervous systems are wired. Anxiety, depression, Alzheimers, and burnout/exhaustion is often associated with low BDNF levels.[ii]
  • Anti-inflammatory marker IL-10 was shown to increase, and pro-inflammatory marker IL-12 was shown to decrease after meditation.[iii]
  • Circadian cortisol release is more robust with a meditation practice which can have effects on quality of sleep, feeling refreshed after sleeping, and appropriate wakefulness throughout the day. [iv]
  • Meditation, especially when combined with breathing exercises, increases vagus nerve tone (vagal tone) and can help the body with digestion (IBD), depression, anxiety, and stress coping.[v]
  • Mindfulness meditation has been shown to increase the effectiveness of the immune system. [vi]
  • Anti-aging effects, specifically against the shortening of telomeres, was shown in regular practice meditators.[vii]


Are you convinced yet?

Do you have a condition that I haven’t touched on?

Are you ready to join us for the month?!


Let’s get started!

Mark your calendars for Friday, February 1st.

Join the Facebook group




[i]                 Amihai I, Kozhevnikov M. The Influence of Buddhist Meditation Traditions on the Autonomic System and Attention. Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015:731579. doi:10.1155/2015/731579.

[ii]                Cahn BR, Goodman MS, Peterson CT, Maturi R, Mills PJ. Yoga, Meditation and Mind-Body Health: Increased BDNF, Cortisol Awakening Response, and Altered Inflammatory Marker Expression after a 3-Month Yoga and Meditation Retreat. Front Hum Neurosci. 2017;11:315. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2017.00315.

[iii]               Black DS, Slavich GM. Mindfulness meditation and the immune system: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2016;1373(1):13-24. doi:10.1111/nyas.12998.

[iv]                Op cit. Cahn.

[v]                 Breit S, Kupferberg A, Rogler G, Hasler G. Vagus Nerve as Modulator of the Brain-Gut Axis in Psychiatric and Inflammatory Disorders. Front psychiatry. 2018;9:44. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00044.

[vi]                Op cit. Black.

[vii]               Ibid.


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