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Mindfulness Meditation and Mood: What You Think Influences How You Feel

“What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” (Psalm 8:4, NIV)

In the 1965 production of The Sound of Music, Fraulein Maria brings fun and joy to the Von Trapp family by song and dance. Her cheerful demeanor wins the heart of seven mischievous children and their heartbroken father.

Maria lifts the spirits of the children by encouraging them to sing a list their favorite things. As I type these words, images of Fraulein Maria jumping on the bed and dancing in the curtains waltz through my mind, as she sings “My Favorite Things” (Go ahead and sing.)

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s song has scientific evidence to support the notion of what you think can influence how you feel.

What you think can influence how you feel.

I recently attended a continuing education seminar titled PTSD, Trauma, and Anxiety Disorders. I won’t bore you with the details of the Hypothalamic-Pituitary- Adrenal Stress Axis (HPA). However, I want you to understand a key component of stress is the stress hormone cortisol.[1]Cortisol, regulates blood sugar, blood pressure, anti-inflammatory response, immune system, metabolism of fat, protein, and carbohydrates, and mood.[2]

Research shows chronic stress causes an imbalance of cortisol levels and is a major cause of anxiety disorders, trauma disorders (like PTSD), and depression. In our information age the most common cause of chronic stress is physiological stress caused by our thoughts of imaginary thoughts not actual physical problems.[3][4]

Most stress is all in our head.

Untreated chronic stress can also cause:

· Cardiovascular disease

· Type 2 diabetes

· Obesity

· Stomach Ulcers

· Accelerate aging

· Cognitive impairment and dementia

· Immune deficiency (increased risk of pneumonia and flu)

· Sexual dysfunction

· Sleep disorders

· High blood pressure

· Anxiety

· Depression[5][6][7]

Combat stress with prayer and meditation.

We live in a world of constant information and multitasking. Studies show mindfulness meditation reduces cortisol levels, thereby reducing stress, anxiety, and depression. Meditation improves cognitive function, ability to focus, memory, and mood. As a result meditation reduces all the factors listed above. [8][9]

“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalms 46:10, NIV)

Thousands of scientific research dollars have been spent determining what the Psalmist wrote thousands of years ago. “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10, NIV).

I personally prefer the New American Standard Version: “Cease striving and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10, NASB).  Cease striving.

Friend, no matter what situation you’re facing, “God is seated on His holy throne” (Psalm 47:8). He can’t be dethroned, voted out, or impeached. He is a thrice holy God who invites you to enter a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. Now that is worthy of meditation.

Peace be with you.

~Dr. April Dawn White, B.S. Pharm.D.

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[3]Sapolsky R. Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers. New York: W. H. Freeman, 2004







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