If you have been a regular reader of Success on the Far Side of Fifty you know that I am passionate about helping people lead healthier, happier and more productive lives.
Why else would I put the time and effort in researching and writing my weekly posts?
But the truth is that becoming a much happier person isn’t really that difficult.
The majority of us are only one or two small habits away from leading much happier and more fullfilling lives. Todays edition of Success on the Far Side of Fifty talks about meditation and exercise; two of the most important happiness habits than any of us can cultivate. Both of these activities are proven to be very beneficial to mental and physical wellness and they are both easy to do and are freely available for all to enjoy.
In case you are interested I personally include both meditation and exercise in my morning routine and I virtually never leave the house until I have completed 20 minutes of meditation and 20 minutes of vigorous physical exercise. Although I enjoy exercise and meditation I consider the mental and physical benefits as the real payoff for my efforts.
Meditation has been around for thousands of years and is proven to reduce stress, relieve anxiety, lower blood pressure, reduce risk of heart disease and even aid in the prevention of some forms of cancer. Meditation has also been proven to enhance general feelings of wellness, aid in pain reduction and can even increase mental function.
Regular aerobic exercise is also proven to relieve anxiety, reduce stress, aid in preventing some forms of cancer, reduce blood pressure, help with the maintenance of a healthy weight and add to general feelings of wellness, as well as help maintain or even increase mental function.
Aside from sharing many similar benefits both of these practices are proven to be at least as effective as Doctor prescribed anti-depressants in reducing or eliminating some forms of clinical depression. HERE is a link that compares antidepressants to mindfulness practices (meditation) and THIS is a story comparing exercise to antidepressants.
If you check out the links you will certainly learn that both meditation and exercise are great treatments for depression, but here is the really cool news; At long last there is a study that shows that when done in combination meditation and exercise even more effective at combatting depression than they are alone.
One study conducted by the University of New Jersey demonstrates that when meditation and exercise are used in tandem symptoms of clinical depression were reduced by 40%!!
As a healthy living practitioner I am thrilled by the fact there is more and more scientific research that supports my assertions regarding the benefits of exercise and meditation. It is my hope that more the more credible evidence we obtain the more people will be pursuated to adopt these practices.
But here is the really important thing to consider;
IF MEDITATION AND EXERCISE TOGETHER ARE SO GOOD AT COMBATTING CLINICAL DEPRESSION HOW MUCH HAPPIER WOULD THEY MAKE THE AVERAGE PERSON?
While there are finally studies showing up that demonstrate the impact of exercise and meditation on depression there are virtually no studies that look at the degree of positive impact that these activities can have on normal, healthy people. Our society puts a great deal of effort into studying illness but not much effort at all in studying wellness.
I can say that I personally know a number of people who include both exercise and meditation as part of their daily practices and I can promise that these people are amoung the healthiest, happiest and most productive people that I know.
My sincere hope is that you will take the time and try one or both of these activities yourself but please remember that consistency is way, way, way more important than intensity.
You really have nothing to lose. Both habits are free, with many great resources on-line that can get you started toward a happier and richer life. In fact a quick YouTube search will land you hundreds of options in either category.
In my view the real question is “Given all of this information when are you getting started on your new program of meditation and exercise?”
If you need help getting going on either exercise or meditation please drop me a line. I am more than happy to help.
As always thank you for reading Success on the Far Side of Fifty and please feel free to leave me a comment or get in touch via email.