Article by Alexa Jones
Health. The first thing that comes to mind when hygiene is mentioned. Throughout modern history, a lot of energy has been spent on teaching younger human beings the benefits of personal hygiene so that they imbibe it early on. Parents insist that their kids brush their teeth twice a day and watch them while they do it; parents also make sure their kids clean up their rooms and maintain a standard of cleanliness, et cetera.
There are myriads of health challenges that are associated with poor hygiene; these range from teeth decay, skin problems to bacterial and viral infections. Many of these problems could become life-threatening. According to Livescience.com, the average life expectancy worldwide has been on the increase since hundreds of years ago due to less and less child mortality rates. Between 1907 and 2007, for example, the infant mortality rate has decreased from 9.99 percent to 0.68 percent. Hygiene is a key factor in this development.
As of 2009, the CDC, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, stated that at approximately 78, the life expectancy of Americans was the highest it had been throughout history. This is due to less prevalence of the Escherichia coli outbreaks, the bacteria responsible for many serious illnesses. Hundreds of years ago, people lived shorter lives because they didn’t eat well and didn’t wash regularly; there were no showers. Therefore more people got sick diseases from bacteria and viruses. There were no toothbrushes, no proper toilets or soaps or shampoos, et cetera.
According to Livestrong.com, bad hygiene is directly responsible for ailments like corns, Athlete’s foot, ringworm, spots, tooth decay, pediculosis, gum disease, cold, flu and other viruses, streptococcus, salmonellosis, urinary tract infection, boils, gum disease, body lice, depression, food poisoning, trachoma, skin infections, gastroenteritis, giardiasis, scabies, hookworm infection, typhoid, hepatitis A, and staph infection. In short, there are more than thirty serious health problems that could be prevented by just regular washing of hands.
But things have changed. There is now widespread awareness and knowledge. Hence, the majority of the world’s population have naturally adopted personal hygiene to ward off battles with preventable illnesses. The only ones likely to have poor hygiene are either deliberately ignorant people or people enduring circumstances outside their control, for example, people in war-torn regions and refugee camps.
People now know how much personal hygiene is important in overall well-being. Very few people want to be the smelly guy in a public bus or the girl with snot at the ends of her nose in public. A badly hit reputation, poor body image or poor social standing might be important repercussions of bad hygiene, but diseases and general discomfort take the cake.
Since people are now so much aware of how much they need to maintain proper personal hygiene, care should also be taken as regards mental hygiene.
Mental hygiene is currently not getting as much publicity as personal hygiene, but the irony is that both kinds of hygiene are equally important. Paul Martin Harrison writes on The Daily meditation, “the average person washes their hands more than ten times a day (statistic according to cleaninginstitute.org). But your mind is arguably far more important. And that is why every time you wash your hands, you should also take a moment to consider your mental hygiene.”
There is a crucial link that brings mental health and personal hygiene together. We already know for a fact that there is a connection between the mind and the body. Therefore, the easiest route to arriving at a healthy body is to maintain a healthy mind. Actually, it is not possible to be healthy when you are going through mental problems. Psychologists have also blamed poor personal hygiene for being one of the key symptoms of some mental illnesses.
Simply put, the mind is the most important tool that we have to help us in navigating through life. It is what dictates the body’s activities. It plays the roles of the perceiver, interpreter, and judge of how we experience life. According to The Successful grownup, “the paradox is that the mind can be an amazing tool to help us actualize our desires and goals, but it can also be our worst enemy.” Having a healthy body with an ailing mind is like being imprisoned aboard a ship battling through a storm. It is a useful activity that can help improve mental hygiene greatly. It is not a new concept—in fact, it is largely looked down on by many people as some sort of spiritual gimmick for religious people—but if you are going to be able to condition your mind, you need to try out meditation, make it a regular habit.
In the last decade, there has been a flurry of related academic studies and testimonies released about meditation. Emma M. Seppälä of Psychology Today, for one, started meditating shortly after the 9/11 bombing of the World Trade Center. It was a chaotic period which increased the chaos in her life. According to her, she realized she had no control over her external environment. But the one place she did have a say over was in her mind, by meditation. She did not expect meditation to make her happier, healthier or more successful. But it did all three. Having experienced the immense benefits of meditating first hand, she went to Stanford for a Ph.D. research programme to study the impact of meditation. In that time, she witnessed tons of students from different backgrounds benefit from meditation.
Although the practice of meditating has been around throughout history, modern science has only just recently successfully found a fascinating link between meditation and general well-being.
We are well into the second decade of the 21st century, and there is now so much information thrown at us, and coupled with technology and constant distraction, we have to pause and take care of our mental health, by meditating, communing with nature, taking a break from phones, social media, TV, et cetera. It is a fast paced world that we live in, and it is super easy to become overwhelmed. This usually leads to emotional overload, a situation whereby over worrying causes heightened levels of anxiety and stress. There is no gain saying that such conditions can do severe harm to our health. An article on Mindworks.org informs that scientists have come to a consensus that practicing a few minutes of mindfulness every day can make a considerable difference. These are a few compelling reasons why you have to meditate:
Meditating can Enhance Cardiac Health
Scientists say that meditating a few minutes every day will improve blood circulation and lower heart rate, and thus maintain a healthy heart. Since the heart rate is reducing, meditating helps to check the effects of pressure and worry. Mindworks.org quotes Psychosomatic Medicine, a trusted health publication which says that frequent meditators have lower amounts of lipid peroxide than non-meditators. Lipid peroxide, Mindworks.org says, is a harmful compound that hardens the arteries and causes atherosclerosis. Meditation has also been said to lower blood pressure in patients and stressed out individuals.
Meditation Improves Awareness
People who meditate have been found to have deeper levels of consciousness that typically lie below thoughts. This means, in essence, that if you do not meditate, you cannot achieve such levels of consciousness. “Our thoughts are like bubbles that arise out of consciousness,” The Successful Grownup says, “you cannot have thoughts without consciousness, but you can have consciousness, even an awareness of consciousness, without thoughts.” People who have been meditating for a long time are known to have greater periods of such awareness without actively thinking. This state of elevated consciousness can cause meditators to experience deep mind and bodily rest. The result is more positive energy and awareness.
Meditation Helps with Control
Meditation and self-hypnosis will make you calm and aware. With regular practice, it is easier to create a mental space that allows you to lead your life by choice rather than by mere reaction. You are more in the driving seat of your mind, and then you can control things from inside you. You will be better positioned to control your emotions, stress, and anxiety. Cortisol is the stress hormone released by the brain when in stressful conditions. People who meditate regularly have significantly lower amounts of cortisol. A mindfulness program was recently conducted in the US to confirm this fact. When you can control the way you react to stress, you are less likely to be overwhelmed. People with less cortisol have also been noticed to have more restful sleep and better discernment.
Scientists believe that meditation and relaxation techniques can help boost brain function. It is a known fact that human brain function declines with age. But regular meditation has been shown to decelerate this occurrence and even improve brain function. Meditation also improves mental agility and alertness.
There are several other benefits of meditation that have not been touched in this article due to time and space. But these benefits should convince you to start practicing it. People who meditate regularly typically have better hygiene. Better hygiene means better health, and better health is the sine qua non for a better quality of life.
To learn self-hypnosis and meditation techniques book a session with one of our AlphaMind Method practitioners in our San Diego Hypnosis Center in La Jolla or on Skype. Check our AlphaMind app. to start practicing self hypnosis. We host monthly workshops as well. Sign up for our newsletter to receive notifications.