If you, like me, meditate, you can likely go on and on about how much meditation helps you. After all, practicing meditation has been scientifically proven to aid in pain management, improve focus and motivation, and reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression. But, did you also know that practicing meditation can help ease the symptoms of genetic diseases such as MTHFR. Now, before your mind gets away with you, yes, that is an actual condition, and its full name is methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase.
MTHFR is the name of a gene (one of 20,000). 30% to 50% of all people actually carry an MTHFR gene mutation. This puts people with the mutation at a higher risk for heart disease, Alzheimer’s, stroke, and cancer. Some symptoms of MTHFR are:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Chronic fatigue
- Hormonal issues
- Autoimmune and thyroid disease
Adjusting your diet can help improve your symptoms, as can mindfulness and meditation. Meditation helps to calm your mind and focus on the now to reduce dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. By easing your stress and anxiety you can lower your body’s blood pressure, reduce memory loss, and new studies have shown that practicing meditation can actually reverse genetic DNA reactions that cause stress. Here are three different types:
Zen meditation dates back over 1,300 years and is a traditional Buddhist discipline. The purpose is to uncover the clarity and workability of the mind. Zen meditation involves observing the world around you and letting go of the thoughts and feelings within your mind. It has proven especially important to help people sleep better by mimicking the REM sleep cycle and overcoming anxiety and stress-based sleeping disorders such as insomnia. Zen Mountain Monastery provides detailed Zen Meditation (Zazen) instructions here.
Mindfulness is similar to Zen, but instead of the general openness, mindfulness meditation teaches you how to be mindful, or aware, of your thoughts and perceptions at any time whether you are in a meditative state or not. Mindfulness helps you learn to remain relaxed at all times or find relaxation when you need it. This allows you to stay focused and to find clarity even in stressful times. Mindfulness has been the most beneficial type of meditation for me, but everyone is different and it is important to find the right fit for you.
Guided meditation is led by an individual. Through the guidance of a teacher, this form helps you to focus and concentrate at a higher level as well as provide significant clarity faster which is helpful in visualizing weight loss, quitting smoking, and other obstacles. In addition to benefits shared with other forms of meditation, guided meditation helps to improve your overall visualization skills as well as build a stronger connection between your left and right brain hemispheres. UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center has a number of free guided meditations in both English and Spanish, as well as an app.
Practicing meditation can help you relax your mind and spirit. This can help reduce pain, anxiety, depression and even blood pressure. For