As more and more people are beginning to recognize the health benefits of a more natural lifestyle, alternative approaches to wellbeing are more popular than ever.
Becoming increasingly popular over the years, meditation is an ancient practice finally beginning to be embraced by our fast-paced, modern society. With time and dedication, it can help focus your mind, resulting in improved mental clarity and an overall increase in mind-body relaxation.
Until the 19th century, meditation was primarily practiced by eastern cultures who viewed it as a path towards enlightenment. In eastern religions, where the concept of karma and reincarnation are integral to the belief system, meditation plays an important role because it is a way to achieve your “highest” self.
Similar to meditation, CBD has also been around for decades, but we’re just now beginning to tap into its full potential. Also like meditation, CBD can help alleviate things like stress and pain, while promoting feelings of relaxation.
Many people have found that the whole-body benefits of CBD, combined with the powerful properties of meditation result in them having the opportunity to reclaim their lives and achieve their best selves.
A Brief History of Meditation
Before we get into the specifics on how meditation and CBD can benefit you, let’s first look into what meditation is, it’s history, and how it’s practiced.
The word meditation literally means “to think, contemplate, devise, and ponder” and generally refers to any practice that is meant to help focus attention.
Its history is closely entwined with religious practices, with the earliest references being found in the Hindu Vedas – a large body of religious texts – of India.
Beginning in the late 19th century, the concept of meditation began to spread to the West thanks to increased travel and better communication. But it wasn’t until the 1960s, with the emergence of the hippie lifestyle and counterculture movements, that meditation would really take off.
In the West, meditation generally falls into two categories: focused and open.
Focused meditation pays special attention to breathing and often includes a mantra focused on a specific idea or feeling. Open meditation, on the other hand, is centered around mindfulness and living in the moment.
Practitioners recommend meditating for 20 minutes at a time, though many people feel that even spending 10 minutes a day is beneficial. When meditating, it’s helpful to be in a quiet, comfortable environment where you won’t be disturbed.
Some people also find that the use of prayer beads can be helpful for focusing your attention.
The great thing about meditation is that it requires minimal effort and anyone can do it. You can do it alone, in a group, in your car, or while walking – and when combined with CBD, it can help you feel centered and in control of your life.
Ways Meditation and CBD can Help Improve Your Life
1. Relax and reduce stress
One of the most common reasons people turn to meditation and CBD is to help cope with the constant stresses of modern life. Statistics show that 77% of Americans battle the physical effects of stress on a regular basis.
When three-quarters of the population is affected, that means stress is no laughing matter – especially when it starts to cause physical problems. The easy answer may be prescription pills, but the often harsh side effects can leave you feeling worse than before.
Luckily, science is beginning to prove what many people have believed for centuries: meditation works great for stress reduction. In a study involving over 3,500 adults, researchers found that practicing meditation regularly resulted in a significant reduction in anxiety, depression, and pain after eight weeks.
Studies have also linked CBD use to lower stress levels, and anxiety is one of the leading reasons that people turn to CBD. Like meditation, it can diminish stress hormones while simultaneously increasing serotonin production. This makes CBD and meditation a powerful duo for combating anxiety levels.
Stress is caused by increased levels of the hormone cortisol, which produces inflammatory chemicals in the body. These chemicals can cause things like high blood sugar, elevated heart rate, and sudden changes in weight.
Over time, the side effects of prolonged stress can cause serious health problems that may be irreversible. That’s why it’s important to be proactive when it comes to finding ways to relieve anxiety levels so they’re kept in check.
Setting aside ten minutes a day to practice mindful meditation is an easy and natural way to stay grounded and sane. Adding CBD to your routine can also be a great way to help improve your current headspace so you can get the most out of your meditation sessions.
2. Improve self-awareness
Developing self-awareness takes time and effort but, with practice, meditation can help you learn how to be more present in your everyday life. Spending time stressing about things in the past you can’t change – or worrying about what will happen in the future – is essentially a waste of time.
Instead, living in the moment allows you to focus your energy on the elements in your life that you do have control over. And in focusing on your present, you’re improving the chances that what you’re doing now will positively impact your life in the future.
Practicing mindfulness will help you rid yourself of things like negative thinking, which can be self-sabotaging. For example, beating yourself up about bad habits will cause you to feel even worse about yourself. In the long term, this doesn’t help because you may fall back on these habits out of (for lack of a better word) habit.
Instead, a more productive approach would be to take a moment, meditate, and reflect on the reasons behind these bad habits. Once you can identify the cause of the behavior, you can more appropriately address it and learn new and improved coping mechanisms.
According to Benjamin Shapero, a psychiatry instructor at Harvard Medical School, while therapy and medications may help some people, they are ineffective in others. That’s why there’s such a need for alternative practices like meditation and mindfulness.
For example, CBD can help reduce anxiety and calm the mind, increasing your ability to improve self-awareness. And unlike many harsh prescription medications, it doesn’t have negative side effects that can cloud your head, making it easier to focus.
And just looking at the fact that the number of mindfulness studies conducted in the past decade has grown – with only five between 1995 and 1997 jumping to a mind-blowing 216 between 2013 and 2015 – is a good indicator that the scientific community is beginning to take notice of its therapeutic effects.
3. Manage anxiety
Anxiety affects roughly 40 million adults between the ages of 18 and 54, and is traditionally treated with therapy, medications, or a combination of both. Unfortunately, because mental health issues are frequently stigmatized in our culture, many of these people never seek help.
Additionally, while therapy and medications can be very useful in treating anxiety, it can also be expensive and time-consuming, with most medications having unpleasant side effects. That’s why meditation can be a good option for learning to manage anxiety and can be done in the privacy of your own home.
It doesn’t have to be one or the other; meditation can be explored safely along with medications, CBD, and therapy. With time and practice, you can also learn to utilize things like breathing techniques that can help whenever your anxiety becomes overwhelming.
Anxiety is more than just an emotion – it physically alters the brain.
While fear is a natural, self-preservation response, constant fear caused by anxiety triggers the production of stress hormones that result in imbalances in the brain.
Fortunately, meditation works to help your body stop producing these hormones, reducing anxiety in the process. It allows you to re-learn thought patterns, training your brain to have a healthier response to stressful situations so they don’t become debilitating.
4. Healthier brain functions
Scientists are finding that meditation can even help improve brain health. A recent study looked at individuals with mild cognitive impairment and found that, after an eight week period, meditation had improved ability in the part of the brain that controls memories.
Though it’s in the early stages, findings like this one could mean that meditation may be helpful in preventing and minimizing the effects of early-stage memory loss. It may even help patients recovering from traumatic brain injuries.
And it’s not just meditation scientists are interested in – CBD is also currently being studied for its brain benefits. According to one study, CBD increased the ability of numerous brain functions while reducing overall inflammation that may benefit more serious health complications.
One recent study found that after just two weeks of meditation, participants taking the GRE’s verbal reasoning section saw a 16-point improvement in their scores. Another study found that “meditation training can enhance various cognitive processes, such as emotional regulation, executive control, and attention – particularly sustained attention.”
In fact, schools are finding that giving students short meditation breaks during the day can dramatically improve academic performance and concentration.
Current studies are finding that there is more scientific evidence as to why this actually works. This is exciting news since meditation may be even more beneficial for younger brains since they’re still developing.
3. Helps control pain
Meditation is also useful for pain management.
A recent study found that meditation relieves pain via a different pathway than medications. This means it can work in tandem with medications, boosting their pain-killing potential.
This can be especially useful to chronic pain sufferers who may have built up a tolerance to their medications over time. Mediation may be able to supplement those medications and prevent the need to increase the dosage.
And when you combine it with the pain-fighting power of CBD, you have two non-addictive, side-effect-free, natural alternatives.
In the past, the goal of many earlier cognitive approaches to pain management was to learn to distract yourself from the pain. Meditation, on the other hand, is actually meant to make you aware of any sensations you’re feeling, including the pain.
Studies have shown that, when meditating, the parts of our brain responsible for sensing pain are activated, while the parts responsible for feeling the pain are reduced. This suggests that acknowledging the pain – rather than ignoring it – actually minimizes it.
Of course, this is easier said than done and does require patience and determination; that’s why adding the pain-fighting power of CBD can be helpful.
While meditation can help with the mental side of pain, CBD can help restore overall balance to the body, making it easier to focus the mind and promote a wealth of benefits.
Some Last Thoughts
If you’ve tried everything else and nothing works, or maybe you just want a gentler option, combining meditation and CBD can be a powerful, natural approach to mind-body health.
All too often, the mind and body get treated as two different entities when, in reality, they are very much connected to each other. By harnessing the power of the mind through meditation, drastic improvements in physical health are possible.
There’s a reason meditation has been around since practically the dawn of time, and that’s because it works. So if you find yourself stuck and in need of an alternative method, consider combining meditation and CBD to discover a whole new world of natural health and wellness.
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