If I told you there was one thing that stood out among everything I’ve done in the last three years to improve my health… one thing that I think everyone should do to improve their health… one thing that I will be doing for the rest of my life to keep myself physically and emotionally healthy…

What do you think it would be?

A certain exercise pose?

A magic pill?

A wondrous “superfood”?

Actually, it’s none of the above.

It’s meditation.

Now before you go envisioning a monk sitting on a cliff with his hands perched on his crossed legs, saying “Ohmmm”… that’s not what I’m talking about.

What I am talking about is giving your body a BREAK.  Intentionally quieting your mind for a period of time every day.  Because, think about it… if you didn’t intentionally set out to do this, when exactly would your mind get a chance to be quiet?

While you’re surfing Facebook?  Binge-watching Netflix?  Or perhaps when you lay down to go to sleep?  Oh no, that’s right… that IS the first time your brain has had a break from all of the stimulation of the day, so that’s when it starts trying to process everything it can think of!

Bet you never thought about that, huh?  You probably just figured you had a “medical issue” that required an over the counter medication like Nyquil, or maybe even a prescription pill like Ambien.  That ought to shut off that brain, right!?  But in actuality, your brain is just doing its job… you just made it wait until the very end of the day to be able to do said job.

If you go through your day constantly bombarding yourself with outside stimuli… coffee, television, traffic, billboards, coworkers, meetings, computer programs, documents, radio, children, spouses, social media, videos, more television and then… bed… when else do you expect your brain to try to process everything you shoved in it that day?

The point is… your brain needs a chance to rest and recharge.  Every day.

And I’m not talking about just from the daily wear and tear.  I’m talking about the ‘BIG’ things… the things that profoundly affect us… illness, death, abuse, betrayal, trauma, abandonment.  The things that we THINK we’ve dealt with… or more likely, just covered up with a pill.

You have even one of those types of events in your life (much less multiple) and your body will start storing away emotions that were never properly dealt with.  And those emotions left to fester long enough, will soon manifest themselves as physical symptoms.

The word “disease” after all is broken down into “dis-ease.”  That means when your body is in a state of dis-ease, something is causing it to be inflamed or upset.  Be it anger, shame, guilt, worry, fear or regret.  Or more likely, a big twisted combination of several of them.

When these types of emotions aren’t dealt with properly, they can literally cause you to start feeling physical symptoms like insomnia, headaches, digestive issues, back pain, dizziness and even more serious conditions like heart disease and cancer.

That is why it is SO important to address your emotional health too… not just when you’re sick, but before illness ever happens.

Taking time to quiet your mind every day, will give your body a chance to relax and recharge.  It allows your breathing to slow down, your heart to beat slower and your mind to stop racing.  And more importantly, it gives you the opportunity to actively let go of things that have been weighing you down – whether consciously or not.

How exactly you do it is up to you.  I personally use a combination of various visualization exercises that allow me to “release” old issues, beliefs, events and emotions up to God.  Other people find guided meditations useful or some simply like to sit in silence or listen to soft music.

But if your life resembles anything like this (as it does for most people in America these days)…


Then you need to take a moment to calm your mind, calm your body and calm your spirit.

Believe me, your body will thank you.

More from Beliefnet and our partners