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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 August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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