Meditation Needs to Make a Comeback
We get so busy sometimes that we forget to focus on our health. So, we frantically look for ways to fix any issues like weight gain or a doctor visit that didn’t go well. Sometimes, taking a deep breath is what we need.
A recent report in Nature1 looked at data from the 2012 US National Health Interview Survey and analyzed data looking at the use of meditation. Take the report for what it is, an analysis of secondary data of people answering questions in a survey. However, I found it interesting that only 5.2% of people surveyed have used meditation in their lifetime. 4.1% have used meditation in the past 12 months.
According to the data, the most likely user of meditation is a white middle aged female with a college education that is single and consumes alcohol and smokes. Anxiety, depression, and stress were some of the top reasons people meditated.
But here is some data that really stood out to me.
Over 63% of people meditating said that it helped a lot with their issues. Yet only 34.8% of users reported it to their healthcare provider. There is a large disconnect going on here.
Meditation, which comes in many forms, has been shown to help with mental health issues, anxiety, blood pressure, and many other conditions. Any stress related condition can certainly use meditation as a tool. To me, even just having quiet time can have a huge impact, yet how many of us actually take the time? Have you ever bought a diet book, and like me, flipped right to the supplement section? We have this supplement that is proven to work, it just takes time and practice. Yet, almost nobody does it and even if we do it’s kept a secret even from healthcare providers for perhaps a fear of judgement. On the flip side, healthcare providers should be advocating for it more.
In a frantic world of smartphones and deadlines, the best tool for health can perhaps be a form of mindful relaxing.
We'll need to explore different forms of meditation and practical ways to implement it in your life that will complement a training and nutrition program. Sounds like a topic for another article.
1. Cramer, Holger, Helen Hall, Matthew Leach, Jane Frawley, Yan Zhang, Brenda Leung, Jon Adams, and Romy Lauche. "Prevalence, Patterns, and Predictors of Meditation Use among US Adults: A Nationally Representative Survey." Scientific Reports 6 (2016): 36760. Accessed November 12, 2016. doi:10.1038/srep36760.