This article was published March 25, 2014, on mindbodygreen.
The purpose of meditation is to bring the mind to its natural state of stillness. The mind cannot be willed into stillness. However, when given something to do, such as focusing on the breath, the mind gradually comes to rest and stops jumping from thought to thought.
Why does meditation work?
Meditation restores balance in the autonomic nervous system (ANS). The ANS is the bridge between the mind and the body. The ANS consists of the sympathetic (SNS) and parasympathetic (PNS) nervous systems that drive glandular activity and organ function. The sympathetic nervous system stimulates production of stress hormones, increasing blood pressure and heart rate and preparing us for the “flight or fight” response.