Healthcare is a hot ticket debate in our country every year, especially given its connection to political platforms. We are constantly debating its cost and accessibility, as well as the treatments, medicines, and coverage. Our health comes before just about everything in our lives, so it only makes sense that people are concerned with their healthcare experience and outcomes.
Considering that health care costs have risen faster than the average annual income, now accounting for 17.9 percent of the United States’ GDP (versus just 5 percent of GDP in 1960), securing coverage is becoming harder and harder for the everyday American.
Can People Prevent Illness?
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, of people who access healthcare services every year, about 70 percent of those cases were for preventable illnesses. For example, lung and heart issues caused by smoking and obesity are two conditions that can be prevented, as opposed to inheriting a gene for high cholesterol. Additionally, something like stress, which affects 8 out of 10 Americans, can be the catalyst for many illnesses from a common cold or chronic condition, to a diagnosed disease.
Therefore, it’s important that we consider alternatives to expensive medications and surgeries. How could a complementary and holistic approach support our health? An approach that places value on the mind, body, and spirit as one entire treatment plan? Enter meditation and mindfulness as part of your health regimen.
What Is Meditation?
Meditation is a set of techniques that create a “heightened sense of awareness and focused attention” in the individual. Practiced for thousands of years all over the world, meditation is about looking introspectively and changing our mind and spirit, which is directly linked to our physical well-being. If we are able to focus our energy on self-awareness and the present moment, thereby reducing stress, depression, and anxiety, then we will be able to influence conditions that lead to preventable illnesses.
Meditation contains a variety of practices, like mindfulness, which can positively impact depression and stress. Mindfulness involves the state of being aware and involved in the present moment, understanding one’s thoughts, where they come from, and where they go. These practices can be coupled with bodily stretches and cohesive movements, known as yoga, for a mind-body approach. Together, all three are viable ways to treat mental distress and disorders that directly affect our health.
These practices present an accessible, productive, and cost-effective solution to a broken health care system that simply treats the effects, not the causes. There are many ways in which meditation is changing our health care sector today.
Mindfulness as a Health Care Treatment
Researchers have been diligently studying the effects of meditation, mindfulness, and yoga on the body for the last few decades. Specifically looking at stress and how it can decrease cortisol, the stress hormone, meditation has been scientifically proven to reduce stress levels. When stress decreases, people are less inclined to overeat, undersleep, and other behaviors which can negatively impact our health.
Additionally, further studies have confirmed that practicing meditation actually strengthens the immune system, which makes people more resistant to disease and sickness, while supporting faster healing.
Most importantly, mindfulness provides people with more control over their own thoughts. Being able to control where the mind goes, destructive thoughts, and a negative mindset equips people with the ability to make healthier choices on a daily basis. That means people are more likely to sleep better, eat well, exercise, and resist destructive behaviors like binge eating and excessive alcohol consumption.
Considering anxiety and depression is the third biggest expenditure in American healthcare services today, placing an emphasis on meditation groups and yoga classes could be an incredible way to reduce costs while providing everyone with the tools they need to be happy and healthy.
You don’t need to dedicate a lot of time to meditation to reap the benefits. Simply setting aside ten minutes a day to connect with your Higher Self in a quiet place can be enough to turn around your perspective and engage your mind-body-soul connection. Creating a dedicated meditation practice, whether you choose to practice in the morning, evening, or any time of day that works for you will help you to maintain mindfulness over your thoughts and find positivity in the present.
Meditation, yoga, and mindfulness also place special emphasis on finding one’s breath and working to inhale and exhale more thoughtfully, which has been scientifically proven to signal to the brain to reduce the secretion of stress hormones and triggers. With a relaxed stress response system, you will notice deeper breathing, a lowered heart rate, and an overall change in your mood that can directly affect your health.
Let’s Make a Meditation Movement
Although one-third of Americans use some form of alternative, holistic medicine today, we can increase that amount to 100 percent of Americans if doctors consider prescribing meditation as a treatment plan. That means, together, we can work to suggest this kind of change to our healthcare system. Providing reports to your doctors and all health-related personnel will remind them of the value of meditation.
Meditation is in essence, a part of you and your entire being. It delves deep into places that simple medications cannot touch. Instead of settling for dangerous pills, surgeries, and so forth, first consider your spiritual stance and what you can do holistically to make a change that is better for you and health expenditures overall.
Are you interested in learning more about how meditation, mindfulness, and connection with the Higher Self can support your health outcomes? Download our free ebook “A Guide to Using Spirituality in Modern Healthcare”, and discover how you can advocate for yourself, your loved ones, and/or your patients within our healthcare system.