Monday, February 6, 2017

Mindfulness Merit Badge (Beginner)



Merit Badge Monday

Mindfulness

As a member of The MaryJane Farmgirl Sisterhood, we are each given an opportunity to earn merit badges. It is sorta like scouts for grownups. And, what a great way to learn new things. This month I earned my “Beginner” Merit badge titled, Mindfulness.

 
To earn this badge, I needed to accomplish:
  • Research the benefits of regular meditation on both the brain and the physical body. Research different types of meditation.
  • Give it a try: For 7 days, spend at least 5 minutes meditating every day. You may wish to use guided meditations to start. There are many free guided meditations available on the Web.
As soon as I read the email from MaryJane listing the new merit badges for 2017, I squealed in delight when I saw mindfulness. I cannot begin to list all the positive effects of mindfulness. First, my health in general has improved. My blood pressure is lower, I am able to regulate my breathing much better and now only use my inhaler once a day. Moreover, I am sick less often and my immunity has improved greatly. I also feel less stress since I began practicing a mindful lifestyle. I meditate every day and have been using the Insight Timer app. ( https://insighttimer.com ) Since Jan 1, 2016! I haven’t missed a day.  I prefer the guided meditations but I have also used the bell. For the purpose of this badge I started again on January 1, 2017. 



There are many benefits to regular meditation. For one, the health improves. I am a great example of this. Interestingly one of the central benefits of meditation is that it improves attention and concentration: One recent study found that just a couple of weeks of meditation training helped people’s focus and memory during the verbal reasoning section of the GRE. In fact, the increase in score was equivalent to 16 percentile points. In 2013, I participated in the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn at Winchester Medical Center in Virginia. It was an 8 week course that taught me how to meditate and live more mindfully. Our class, had a nun, several doctors, a retired preacher, and a few who were battling different medical challenges or learning to practice mindfulness within the public school and health professions. There’s been increasing interest from educators and researchers in bringing meditation and yoga to school kids, who are dealing with the usual stressors inside school, and oftentimes additional stress and trauma outside school. Some schools have starting implementing meditation into their daily schedules, and with good effect: One district in San Francisco started a twice daily meditation program in some of its high-risk schools – and saw suspensions decrease, and GPAs and attendance increase. Studies have confirmed the cognitive and emotional benefits of meditation for schoolchildren, but more work will probably need to be done before it gains more widespread acceptance.


http://www.ineedmotivation.com made a wonderful list. I will share it with you now! 


100 Benefits of Meditation!

Physiological benefits:
1- It lowers oxygen consumption.
2- It decreases respiratory rate.
3- It increases blood flow and slows the heart rate.
4- Increases exercise tolerance.
5- Leads to a deeper level of physical relaxation.
6- Good for people with high blood pressure.
7- Reduces anxiety attacks by lowering the levels of blood lactate.
8- Decreases muscle tension
9- Helps in chronic diseases like allergies, arthritis etc.
10- Reduces Pre-menstrual Syndrome symptoms.
11- Helps in post-operative healing.
12- Enhances the immune system.
13- Reduces activity of viruses and emotional distress
14- Enhances energy, strength and vigor.
15- Helps with weight loss
16- Reduction of free radicals, less tissue damage
17- Higher skin resistance
18- Drop in cholesterol levels, lowers risk of cardiovascular disease.
19- Improved flow of air to the lungs resulting in easier breathing.
20- Decreases the aging process.
21- Higher levels of DHEAS (Dehydroepiandrosterone)
22- prevented, slowed or controlled pain of chronic diseases
23- Makes you sweat less
24- Cure headaches & migraines
25- Greater Orderliness of Brain Functioning
26- Reduced Need for Medical Care
27- Less energy wasted
28- More inclined to sports, activities
29- Significant relief from asthma
30- improved performance in athletic events
31- Normalizes to your ideal weight
32- harmonizes our endocrine system
33- relaxes our nervous system
34- produce lasting beneficial changes in brain electrical activity
35- Cure infertility (the stresses of infertility can interfere with the release of hormones that regulate ovulation).
36- Helps in building sexual energy & desire

Psychological benefits:
36- Builds self-confidence.
37- Increases serotonin level, influences mood and behavior.
38- Resolve phobias & fears
39- Helps control own thoughts
40- Helps with focus & concentration
41- Increase creativity
42- Increased brain wave coherence.
43- Improved learning ability and memory.
44- Increased feelings of vitality and rejuvenation.
45- Increased emotional stability.
46- improved relationships
47- Mind ages at slower rate
48- Easier to remove bad habits
49- Develops intuition
50- Increased Productivity
51- Improved relations at home & at work
52- Able to see the larger picture in a given situation
53- Helps ignore petty issues
54- Increased ability to solve complex problems
55- Purifies your character
56- Develop will power
57- greater communication between the two brain hemispheres
58- react more quickly and more effectively to a stressful event.
59- increases one’s perceptual ability and motor performance
60- higher intelligence growth rate
61- Increased job satisfaction
62- increase in the capacity for intimate contact with loved ones
63- decrease in potential mental illness
64- Better, more sociable behavior
65- Less aggressiveness
66- Helps in quitting smoking, alcohol addiction
67- Reduces need and dependency on drugs, pills & pharmaceuticals
68- Need less sleep to recover from sleep deprivation
69- Require less time to fall asleep, helps cure insomnia
70- Increases sense of responsibility
71- Reduces road rage
72- Decrease in restless thinking
73- Decreased tendency to worry
74- Increases listening skills and empathy
75- Helps make more accurate judgements
76- Greater tolerance
77- Gives composure to act in considered & constructive ways
78- Grows a stable, more balanced personality
79- Develops emotional maturity

Spiritual benefits:
80- Helps keep things in perspective
81- Provides peace of mind, happiness
82- Helps you discover your purpose
83- Increased self-actualization.
84- Increased compassion
85- Growing wisdom
86- Deeper understanding of yourself and others
87- Brings body, mind, spirit in harmony
88- Deeper Level of spiritual relaxation
89- Increased acceptance of oneself
90- helps learn forgiveness
91- Changes attitude toward life
92- Creates a deeper relationship with your God
93- Attain enlightenment
94- greater inner-directedness
95- Helps living in the present moment
96- Creates a widening, deepening capacity for love
97- Discovery of the power and consciousness beyond the ego
98- Experience an inner sense of “Assurance or Knowingness”
99- Experience a sense of “Oneness”
100- Increases the synchronicity in your life




I need Motivation says it best. “Meditation is also completely FREE! It requires no special equipment, and is not complicated to learn. It can be practiced anywhere, at any given moment, and it is not time consuming (15-20 min. per day is good). Best of all, meditation has NO negative side effects. Bottom line, there is nothing but positive to be gained from it!” 



Oh and after you have meditated for a while, you might enjoy a Mindful retreat! Can you believe that I have done this and went an entire weekend with NO TALKING! I encourage everyone to give Mindfulness a try!

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