May 3, 2021

Learning Meditation: Body Scan

Stress can manifest itself in extensive ways, both mentally and physically. Mentally, when we are stressed, we can experience a lack of concentration, increased anxiety, greater irritability, frequent mood swings, and more. Physically, we can experience a wide realm of symptoms, including aches, pains, insomnia, headaches, and exhaustion. Frequently, these symptoms go unnoticed in our bodies because of their subtle onset and our tendency to push away uncomfortable thoughts. 

There are two main hormones that control stress levels in the body: cortisol and DHEA. Cortisol suppresses immune function and reduces inflammation when necessary, while DHEA does the opposite. Under ideal circumstances, cortisol and DHEA are evenly balanced. Our bodies have a decreased ability to handle stress when our DHEA levels are lower and our cortisol levels are increased. When researchers conduct studies about stress levels in the body, they are typically looking at a delicate balance between DHEA and cortisol.

By using the body scan meditation technique, we can tune our mind and body in harmony with each other, lowering our stress levels and therefore the unfavorable symptoms that come with high levels of stress. In a study conducted for body scan meditation, it was found that those who engage in this practice consistently can decrease their cortisol levels while increasing DHEA levels, bringing the body back to that sweet spot between the two. On the microbiological level, having an appropriate balance between cortisol and DHEA permits our body to handle stress appropriately, therefore excusing us from the aforementioned stress-induced symptoms.

Overall, the body scan meditation reduces stress, increases focus, and improves sleep by forcing us to familiarize ourselves with our bodies. To experience these helpful benefits, make sure to meditate with Source Wellness on the Insight Timer app.