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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

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andre lewis

Former Inside Operations Supervisor UPS

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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