The novel coronavirus is spreading like wildfire. The pandemic has so far infected 1, 614, 951 people and claimed 99,887 lives worldwide, according to the latest WHO report. In India, the number of confirmed cases has jumped to 8,356m and as many as 273 people have lost their lives to this deadly virus, the Union Health Ministry reported in its website. In the wake of the rapidly growing number of COVID-19 cases, many Indian states have decided to extend the lockdown beyond April 14. During this time of extreme uncertainty, it is likely for anyone to feel sad, stressed, confused, scared or angry.
If you’re experiencing difficulty sleeping or concentrating these days, it could be due to stress and anxiety caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. If not controlled, stress can take an enormous toll on your mental and physical health. Experts suggest many ways to cope with stress during the lockdown, and one of the best ways is mediation.
Meditation is a powerful way to release stress and remain calm and balanced in extreme situations like the COVID pandemic. If practised for as few as 10 minutes each day, meditation can help you control stress, decrease anxiety, relax as well as improve cardiovascular health. Now, let’s explore some ways in which meditation can help you manage stress and promote greater health and well-being.
Reduces production of stress hormones
Meditation takes you in a state of deep rest, but your mind will remain fully alert and awake. In this state of restful alertness, your body experiences many healing effects including reduction in stress hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline. Meditation can also bring down your heart rate, normalize blood pressure, promote deeper breathing, strengthen immunity and allow more efficient use of oxygen by the body. In addition, it reduces inflammation in the body.
Increases the body’s neurotransmitters of well-being
Meditation can trigger the brain to release neurotransmitters that enhance feelings of well-being, focus, and inner calm. Below are four key neurotransmitters released during meditation and how they benefit your body:
- Dopamine helps your brain to experience pleasure, feel rewarded, and maintain focus. It also regulates your mood and sleep.
- Serotonin provides a calming effect. This neurotransmitter helps ease tension and make you feel less stressed and more relaxed and focused. Low levels of serotonin may cause migraines, anxiety, bipolar disorder, apathy, feelings of worthlessness, fatigue, and insomnia.
- GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) helps control fear and anxiety when neurons become overactivated. Deficiency of GABA can cause nervousness, racing thoughts, and sleeplessness.
- Endorphins play many roles related to well-being, including decreasing feelings of pain and reducing the side effects of stress.
Promotes Relaxation and Restful Sleep
Several studies have suggested meditation as an effective therapy for insomnia. If you meditate, you are likely to get restful sleep that is vital to your overall health. Meditation triggers your brain to produce more brainwaves that promote deep relaxation. This keeps you calm and more focused during the day. Then when it’s time to bed, you are more likely to fall asleep quickly—and stay asleep.