20 years of general practice and ongoing work now in Mind health and meditation has convinced me of the intimate connection between physical health, meditation and emotional wellness.
Evidence is mounting all the time around the benefits of emotional health and meditation. As a GP with many years of physical medicine experience and also having a deep understanding of psychotherapy and mindfulness, I am very well placed to guide you in managing your health concerns.I am happy to see you for all chronic health conditions or serious conditions such as cancer. Also issues such as infertility, weight problems, chronic fatigue, insomnia, arthritis, chronic pain or any other health condition.
There is a great deal of evidence available now for mind/body wellness. I have listed many of the positive benefits of meditation and emotional health below.
- A reduction in the body effects of chronic stress. In response to a stressful event there are very normal changes in the body, these evolved in order to help us in situations like an attack of a wild animal. The sympathetic nervous system is stimulated and hormones like adrenalin and cortisol are released resulting in; increased heart rate, increased respiratory rate, sweating, more glucose and lipids are released into the bloodstream , the immune system is activated and inflammatory chemicals released, the blood becomes thick and sticky to help clotting. In short term emergencies these changes are useful. However most humans keep the stress response going long term. We do this because of underlying psychological fear around life situations and a high degree of emotional reactivity. The chronic effects of these physical changes cause significant wear and tear on the body. Increasing the risk of conditions such as osteoporosis, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, atherosclerosis, autoimmune disease, skin disease, loss of brain cells, memory reduction and worsening executive function. Meditation has been shown to significantly reduce this chronic stress response
- There is growing evidence that meditation and emotional wellness can benefit DNA. Stress causes increased rates of ageing in our DNA, meditation helps to reduce this and can improve DNA function and repair.
- Neuroscience is showing that regular meditation can create beneficial structural changes in the brain. There has been shown to be thickening in the prefrontal cortex. This area is responsible for memory, higher reasoning, emotional regulation, appetite and impulse regulation and directing the immune system. There has also been shown to be a reduction in size of the amygdala. The amygdala is an almond shaped area of neurons deep in the brain that is more prominent when we are emotionally reactive.
- Putting all of these neurological changes together meditation leads to; better attention, less distractibility, improved memory, improved mood, increased verbal fluency, reduced fatigue, reduced anxiety, improved visiospatial processing, improved executive function, improved emotional regulation, better appetite and impulse control and reduced risk of dementia.
- Meditation is also good for emotional wellness; meditators have greater self awareness they can recognize and understand their emotions, better self regulation less impulsive and reactive with emotion, increased empathy because of greater ability to understand others and better social skills.
There is a GP Dr Craig Hassad who works at Monash University who has some very valuable evidence that might be useful to watch.
Also Dr George Jelinek ( an emergency physician) who has stayed very well after a diagnosis of MS has a very useful website on mind/body wellness.