Eat, meditate and be merry

Gwyneth Paltrow, Richard Gere and Orlando Bloom are already devotees – and now it seems an altogether less worldly figure has joined the ranks of those who swear by the joys of meditation.
Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, last week called for more people to try this centuries-old practice as an antidote to our “insane” consumerist society and the “chaotic” emotions it causes. He was speaking in a religious context but nevertheless, his basic premise – that meditation can protect against the pressures of modern life – is one many secular experts would happily endorse.
Meditation may have its roots in the world’s great religions but nowadays it is increasingly used to treat distinctly modern ills. Research from the University of Exeter from 2008 has shown it works as well as drugs for chronic depression. It lowers levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, while a US study, published in 2011, suggested that meditating for just over an hour could relieve chronic pain. MRI scans of Buddhist monks indicate it may even alter the brain’s structure (its neuroplasticity).
So what exactly does meditation involve? Buttoned up types will be reassured to learn it has little to do with hippies or chakras. Essentially, meditation – or “mindfulness practice”, as psychologists call it – is a way of “being in the moment”, which enables people to let go of the brain’s “busyness”. The result is a state of deep relaxation and a tranquil mind.

Source  - Telegraph