When problems pile up – most people think the answer is a vacation far, far away. Their nerves and stress receptors are so burnt that fantasies of mountains, cabins, beaches and Caribbean waters dance in their minds.
But when it comes to relaxing fantasies that dance in our minds – that type of imagery might just be the answer staring us right in the eyes.
That is to say that scientists made a startling and unique discovery that meditation has the same benefits for our bodies that having a vacation does – especially when it comes to our stress and immune system.
The unusual study involved healthy women, aged 30-60. Sixty-four were recruited who were not regular meditators. Participants stayed at the same resort in California for six days, and randomised so that half were simply on vacation while the other half joined a meditation training program run by the Chopra Center for Well Being.
The meditation program included training in mantra meditation, yoga, and self-reflection exercises.
For greater insight into the long-term effects of the “meditation effect” compared to the “vacation effect,” the scientist from scientists from University of California San Francisco and Harvard University also studied an additional group of 30 experienced meditators who were already enrolled in the retreat that week.
This wasn’t one of those self-judgement type studies where participants were only asked if they felt better – not at all. Along with surveys, blood tests were taken to test stress markers. In fact, scientists looked at changes in a total of 20,000 genes involved in stress and immune pathways in both newbie and regular meditators.
“Study results show that all groups – novice meditators, experienced meditators, and vacationers – had significant changes in molecular network patterns after the week at the resort,” NYR NN says. “The most notable changes in gene activity were related to stress response and immune function,” they wrote.
All groups experienced significant self-reported measures of well-being – even one month later.
One significant difference in results, however, is between the novice meditators and non-meditating vacationers: beginner meditators had fewer symptoms of depression and less stress much longer than the non-meditating vacationers.
Could it be that meditating can reduce stress much better than a vacation? It’s too premature to say yes because no one really knows if the beginner meditators continued the meditation practice beyond the event or whether the interlude at the resort changed their life perspective.
What do you think? Is meditation more beneficial than a nice vay-cay away from it all? When you consider how stressful vacations can actually be – you might be nodding yes right now!
Must-See Meditation & “Staycation” Resources:
- The Easy Way To Meditate For Health And Wealth
- The Great American Staycation: How to Make a Vacation at Home Fun for the Whole Family (and Your Wallet!)
- Meditation For Beginners: 20 Tips To Help Quiet The Mind
- The DIY Spa Retreat: Design a Resort-Style Retreat At Home
- Music For Meditation Healing
- The Sounds Of The Planets: Meditate To These
- The Staycation Jar: 200 Family Fun Ideas For Creative Meals, Main Events, Silliness, Love Projects
- 5 Tips On How To Meditate For Beginners
- Staycation: How to Get Away Without Going Away
Image: Natural Blaze
This article (No Money for a Vacation? Try This at Home for SAME Benefits) can be republished with attribution to Heather Callaghan, source article and Natural Blaze.com, keeping all links and bio intact.