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Adding Years to Your Life Through Prayer and Meditation

Adding Years to Your Life Through Prayer and Meditation

Recently, I was discussing with my friend about the health benefits of prayer. From what I have reviewed, the findings may surprise you. Regardless of background, economic level, and belief, prayer and meditation seems to contribute to a healthier existence.

The Research

The National Institute for Healthcare until a few years ago flat out refused to even review a study that had the word prayer in it. According to WebMD the NIH is now funding a study through their Frontier Medicine Initiative. The article, based on recent neurological studies, suggests that their is a definite link between prayer and health.

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It is interesting to note that increased funding for these studies have almost doubled over the past 10 years. Dr. Harold Koenig, author of the Handbook of Religion and Health and the associate Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry at Duke University documents nearly 1200 studies. His findings show that people, who are prone to this practice, are stressed out less, get sick less, drink less, and are less angry.

He focused specifically on meditation to understand how mind affects the body. It is believed that by radiating loving-kindness to other human beings, nurtured a benefit to those it was directed to as well as the practitioner. That, this sharing practice has by all accounts produced amazing changes both in perception, depth, and health in the participants and has shown documented physical changes on MRI brain scans.

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A study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania found, by repeating certain sounds and words called mantras (the Om) that the practitioner creates within himself, vibrations leading up to a change in consciousness, a “quietude” disconnecting the mind – body. When this happens, our limbic system which regulates relaxation becomes activated. This moves deeper still controlling our nervous system, heart rate, blood pressure, metabolism, and so on. Leading to being more relaxed, the body is now more evenly regulated.

The Results

While it may not be on bended knees or crossed legs, the expression of thankfulness, gratitude, a wish to be more gentle, less angry, addition of provisions for loved ones have all pointed to a hope or a target for that direction. I think we would all agree that the world is an amazing place full of wonders and impressive contributions. If nothing more, however the method, meditation and prayer can in fact lead to a healthier existence by simple psychological change.

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Advancement and resolution should be in everyone’s vocabulary. To desire and contribute to a better world whatever the technique is necessary, the more on board this ship, the better. There is an agreement in each that suggests by participating in an earnest hope, whether individually or collectively and whatever word is chosen to describe it, the same conclusion is reached.

True Life Story of Mr. Y

The older gentleman I will call Mr. Y grew up in a church home and wandered away from most of the practices he had learned as a young boy, but mentioned how throughout his life he has always had an internal dialog. He started drinking heavily and as a result, lost his family, job, and self worth. He said that he had been silently crying out during that time for help but no-one lifted a finger. Everyone was too busy pointing one.

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He referenced his last evening of drinking and during a blackout, he came to believe the power of healing. Now I don’t know if his story holds truth, there is no obvious reason for me to doubt him but before me, stood a man dressed professionally who spoke articulately and insisted that he was given health and freedom from alcoholism from the sincere quiet prayers that were made.

In the West the majority of folks are familiar with the terms prayer and meditation. As more and more findings from studies about the positive effects of change because of these practices are released, the indication is that “prayer” can support health – thereby giving life. The offset of stress, an increase in trust, further development with self control are changes we could all use. We eat foods that are healthy, we exercise, and get the recommended amounts of rest. Maybe we could add an additional activity as well. Prayer and meditation does not appear to have a downside.

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

More by this author

andre lewis

Former Inside Operations Supervisor UPS

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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