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 Meditation 
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Psychological Benefits of Meditation

Meditation can help most people feel less anxious and more in control. The awareness that meditation brings can also be a source of personal insight and self-understanding.

Handling Repressed Memories and Enjoying Life:

Dr. Borysenko notes that "meditation may lead to a breakdown of screen memories so that early childhood abuse episodes and other traumas suddenly flood the mind, making the patient temporarily more anxious until these traumas are healed. Many so-called meditation exercises are actually forms of imagery and visualization that are extraordinarily useful in healing old traumas, confronting death anxieties, finishing 'old business', learning to forgive, and enhancing self-esteem."

"Meditation frees persons from tenacious preoccupation with the past and future and allows them to fully experience life's precious moments", says Daeja Napier, founder of the Insight Meditation Center and lay dharma teacher of insight meditation in suburban Boston.

"Many men and women tend to live in a state of perpetual motion and expectation that prevents them from appreciating the gifts that each moment gives us," says Napier. "We live life in a state of insufficiency, waiting for a mother to love us, for a father to be kind to us, for the perfect job or home, for Prince Charming to come along or to become a perfect person. It's a mythology that keeps us from being whole.

"Meditation is a humble process that gently returns us to the now of our lives and allows us to wake up and re-evaluate the way that we live our lives," says Napier. "We realize that the only thing missing is mindfulness, and that's what we practice."

Depression:

Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and isolation are hallmarks of depression-the nation's most prevalent mental health problem. Meditation increases self-confidence and feelings of connection to others. Many studies have shown that depressed people feel much better after eliciting the relaxation response.

Panic attacks:

Sometimes anxiety becomes paralyzing and people feel (wrongly) that they are about to suffer some horrible fate. Panic attacks are often treated with drugs, but studies by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester and director of the medical center's Stress Reduction Clinic, show that if people who are prone to panic attacks begin focused, meditative breathing the instant they feel the first signs of an episode, they are less likely to have a full-blown panic attack.

Next Topic: Health Benefits of Meditation: Spiritual

 

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