Your mind is a powerful force in protecting your body. The cause and effect relationship between the brain and the immune system is an interesting one, as positive thoughts and good moods have repeatedly been linked to better immune function. If you’re sick all the time and find yourself cursing your immune system for not putting up a fight, it’s more likely to carry that negativity throughout your body and throw you completely out of balance. Let’s look into how meditation can play a role in your body’s mind and immune system.
The immune system is responsible for responding to physical stress in the body, generally from outside bacterial invaders. When the antibodies that are dispatched to fight the problem are also stressed out, they can’t function properly. The result is a susceptibility to disease that often manifests itself in visible inflammation, and, of course, more mental stress to boot.
Regular meditation practice is designed to calm the mind so the body can perform as it was intended. We’ve previously discussed the ways mindfulness can change your relationship with pain, and meditation serves a similar function when it comes to your immune health. Your body will do what you tell it to, and flooding your mind with relaxing thoughts and a greater awareness of self tells your body that everything will be fine.
Physically, there are many changes that occur when you integrate mindfulness practice into your everyday routine. For one, those antibodies that are so crucial in fighting foreign pathogens actually multiply in number. Studies have revealed that the parts of the brain responsible for positive emotions and anxiety regulation, which also happen to be the regions where immune system function is housed.
This is an important distinction for two reasons. One, it means meditation increases your chances of thwarting harmful bacteria. But it’s also a clear indicator that meditation can have a profound effect on reducing your chances of high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, heart disease and other conditions that are the result of overworked and stressed internal systems.
Time after time, when studied against control groups, people who make time for regular meditation practice exhibit lowered responses to stress. including exercise, proper nutrition, balance and agility work and music therapy, individuals who participated in mental fitness experienced better results.
Meditation is designed to slow things down. Through intensely simple acts like focusing on the breath and allowing thoughts to pass through free of judgment, the mind doesn’t have room to fret about what’s ailing the body. In these moments where the conscious mind is occupied with observing nothing more than what is happening in the present moment, the subconscious is free to help the body’s systems recuperate and regenerate.