Meditation also has a large impact on the body. In fact, meditation does a
great job of balancing your body and its functions. The reason for this is
that meditation activates the body’s relaxation response, which has a
number of positive ramifications.
How meditation affects the body
As previously stated, meditation activates your body’s relaxation response,
but what exactly is this? During the relaxation response, your body begins
to become physiologically relaxed. This means that your blood pressure,
heart rate, digestive functioning, and hormone levels return to normal after
a state of stress.
Part of the reason that all your functions return to normal is that harmful
hormones are reduced whenever you start relaxing. Whenever your body
detects stress, it produces cortisol. Cortisol is helpful in short-bursts but can
disrupt sleep-cycles, create a negative mood, and make you feel tired over
time. Relaxation reduces the chances of high-cortisol levels.
Additionally, your body’s relaxation response allows you to turn off autopilot
induced by stress. With your autopilot turned off, you can use your
conscious mind and somatic nervous system to make changes in the
automatic nervous system, which controls your heart rate, breathing rate,
blood pressure, and hormones.
Putting it all together
Meditation allows your body to activate its relaxation response. When your
relaxation response is activated, your body reduces its cortisol production,
turns off its autopilot, and allows you to become physiologically relaxed,
which protects your body from damage. Imagine that your body is like car brakes. If you constantly slam on the brake pedal or ride with the emergency brake on, the brakes and brake pad will be worn out quickly. Your body is the same way.
If your body never experiences physiological relaxation, it will wear out
much quicker. Meditation incites physiological relaxation, which will allow
your body to be healthier for a longer period of time.