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Meditation vs. Medication: Your Path to Happiness?

Silva MethodBy Laura Silva / Source: The Silva Method

As Silva students, we're fortunate enough to have tips and techniques that can naturally help us achieve happiness. This of course, include meditation, which is the key ingredient used in all of Silva Method's exercises.

Meditation helps us to relax our mind and body while giving us physical as well as inner peace. It heals stress, anxiety as well as depression.

We already know that engaging in activities that relieve you from stress, anxiety and depression, such as meditation, can reduce the negative energies in our system leading to happiness.

Unfortunately, there are still so many out there who have yet to experience its wondrous benefits.

So, in their quest to achieve happiness, they try various methods that may include medication, drugs and other adrenaline-rushing activities which just aren't healthy in the long run.

For this reason alone, I am very happy to see that meditation is being recognized more and more in the medical world for its natural and permanent benefits.

Here's an article written by Janis Whitlock (MPH, PhD), which talks about the increasing number of those addicted to unnatural methods in their quest to find happiness, but with less than positive results.

According to Janis, with the quest for happiness, as it is socially and culturally defined in most western nations, comes heightened risk for addictions of all sorts - particularly for youth.

The article elaborated on the science of addiction, which reveals that when someone struggles with substance abuse or process addictions present in our culture such as food, sex, gambling, self-harming behaviors, or even excessive Internet usage or workaholism, the pay-off is the same: increased levels of "feel good" chemicals.

All of these behaviors increase levels of "happiness" chemicals such as dopamine, serotonin, endogenous opiods, and norepinephrine - at least for a short while.

Meditation, meanwhile, provides the much sought-after positive and permanent qualities that so many are searching for:

  • Increased understanding of the neurology of contentment suggests that practices such as meditation and contemplation may hold the key to real and lasting happiness

  • Studies of long-term meditators by researchers such as Richard Davidson from the UW-Madison Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience show that meditation is linked to significant activity in the left prefrontal cortex - areas of the brain linked to positive emotion

  • Studies of the effect of meditation on mental health typically show meditation linked to significantly less trait anxiety and negative affect, enhanced levels of circulating antibodies and the high-frequency gamma waves associated with higher mental activity

  • Similarly, as reviewed in Stefan Klein's book, The Science of Happiness, long-term compassion-focused meditation has been linked to the most intense left-sided, happiness-related brain activity ever recorded

  • These studies have shown that the effects of meditation are believed to be permanent

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