Are you thinking about building a meditation practice to manage your stress levels? That’s an amazing thought. The benefits of meditation for stress-management are numerous. This article speaks to the #1 reason for its benefits: a reduction in the stress hormone cortisol. For quite a long time, researchers have proven that stress is a significant factor in disease and ageing (Liguori, 2018; Finkel, 2000; Vitale, 2013). Yet, there are many unanswered questions on what mechanisms are sufficient in reversing the deleterious impacts of stress.
A landmark study published in Hormones and Behaviour journal found that mantra-style meditation is an effective technique for stress-management (also known as the transcendental meditation technique). This is because meditation is proven to reduce cortisol by 30% (Jevning, 1978).
Plasma cortisol is a steroid hormone made by the adrenal gland whose responsibility is to aid a person’s body to respond to stress. Cortisol also regulates the body’s blood sugar levels, and helps fight infections. The benefits of mantra-style meditation for stress-management is that meditation reduces this steroid hormone. By simply learning to use a mantra to shut-out distracting thoughts and go within, the body can relax. With a short period of meditation, the person enters a state of relaxed awareness, building more personal resilience.
The Science Behind Meditation
The common physiologic changes witnessed during mantra-style meditation includes:
• A reduction in oxygen consumption
• Elimination of carbon dioxide
• Arterial lactate
• Redistribution of blood flow
• An increase in alpha activity in the central and frontal electroencephalogram.
What does all this mean to you? It means there is some science to this style of meditation that truly supports a decrease in stress on the body.
Practitioners of mantra-style meditation such as the famous hedge fund billionaire, Ray Dalio, have reported experiencing relaxation and decreased “stress levels” both during and outside meditation. A few decades ago, Jevning et al., (1978) conducted experiments on the concentration levels of plasma in cortisol before, during, and after the practice of mantra-style meditation (or transcendental meditation) to ascertain the assertions on its impact on stress levels.
The Three Groups In The Study
The subjects were composed of three groups, the first was a group consisting of 15 long-term regular meditation practitioners. The second group was composed of 15 controls. And the third was a restudied control group. The outcomes revealed that the cortisol concentration levels for the controlled group of meditators were stable throughout the entire session. For the short-term meditators (restudied group), the concentration of cortisol decreased during the meditation, but not so significant. On the other hand, the long-term meditators displayed a sharp decline in cortisol concentration levels.
The difference in cortisol concentration levels between the long-term meditation practitioners and the control groups were significant. This shows that the huge difference in cortisol concentration levels was a result of a meditation. Additionally, it became more evident from the study that the sharp decline in cortisol concentration levels during this meditation technique reflected a lessened pituitary-adrenal activation. This finding received much credibility from the fact that blood flow to the liver, the main site of cortisol degradation, declined remarkably during mantra-meditation – helping the body manage stress better.
Why Bother Building A Meditation Practice For Stress Management?
That’s a great question. We know that in practicing meditation, with the use of a mantra, a person can easily lower the cortisol levels in their blood. And we know that decreasing cortisol is directly decreasing the hormones that are secreted during a stressful bodily response. Therefore by decreasing this hormone, through meditation, you enhance personal wellbeing.
This means that a person has direct control over their body, if they can lower their stress levels. Following me? Meditation is a proven strategy for stress-management!!!! This is a fact. If a person can lower their stress levels, they can be healthier and they can inevitably decrease the risk of diseases that arise from stress.
In the podcast episode on the 4 Ways To Build A Meditation Practice, I guide you to developing the tools you need for creating this powerful daily practice. Head over to Satori Radio in iTunes if you like, for a bit more strategy talk with me.
Why Use Satori Health & Wellness Coaching To Help You?
At Satori Health and Wellness Coaching, we believe that with too much stress, you cannot live your life to the fullest. By incorporating a daily practice of meditation for management, you’re improving your chances at making better choices. Stress puts your health at risk, and makes you susceptible to anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, and many other complications.
Our experience in applying this meditation technique has allowed us to reap the benefits. So we created an online program based on the mantra-style technique, where we offer you a mantra. A mantra is a simple word without meaning that will be used as the vehicle to different mind states. Lynn @ Satori has been able to support many coaching clients who have gone-on to reap much benefits from living happier lives.
Here’s what Dave says about his practice:
“Having never experienced any form of meditation, I approached it with uncertainty as to the results. I had a lot going on in my life as I prepared for a new career and it was hard for me to settle my brain and escape anxiety. This is where Lynn’s program came in!
Through this course, I discovered a path to create times of calm, creativity and relaxation unlike anything I had experienced before. I meditate daily as part of my morning routine and it has become my “mind sanctuary” that brings insight and stillness which propels me into the day with confidence and invigoration!” DAVE B. – CARPENTER
How Long Does It Take To Get Results?
As demostratated by Jevning et al., (1978), when one accesses their inner calm through mantra-style meditation, his or her body gains a state of rest that is deeper than sleep. When in a sleep state, your cortisol will only drop by 10%, but the cortisol levels reduced significantly by about 30-40% in a 20-minute meditation session.
In addition to that, a client gets to allow their mind to slowly drift away from the noisy “thinking” mind, and into a serene, peaceful state of mind where s/he is perfectly calm, settled and wide awake. Although the stress is always present in the body, the stress become more manageable. This is a direct result of using this evidence-based strategy.
If you’re interested in bringing down your stress levels, you can learn this style of meditation online, at your leisure. We also provide groups that can be run on zoom, or one-on-one. And because your well-being should never be anxiety-provoking, this program can be taken online in a schedule that suits you best.
What You Get: I provide you with a 4 one-hour lessons, a bonus scheduling PDF that helps you work through each session at your speed, a unique recorded mantra, along with weekly support on zoom (beginning in the fall). This support will help you facilitate a daily practice that can transform your life, and the life of those you love.
Check out our Learn To Meditate page here
Check out our Self-Paced Digital Meditation Program here.
Finkel, T. &. (2000). Oxidants, oxidative stress and the biology of ageing. nature, 408(6809),, 239-247.
Jevning, R. W. (1978). Adrenocortical activity during meditation. Hormones and behavior, 10(1),, 54-60.
Liguori, I. R.-M. (2018). Oxidative stress, aging, and diseases. Clinical interventions in aging, 757.
Vitale, G. S. (2013). Oxidative stress and the ageing endocrine system. Nature Reviews Endocrinology, 9(4),, 228-240.