Meditation: A simple way to reduce stress
Meditation can wipe away the day's stress, bringing with it inner peace.
Research shows that stress can lead to illness and disease. If you are someone who experience stress on a regular basis, consider meditation.
Spending even a few minutes in meditation can lessens anxiety, tension and worry and can restore your calm and inner peace.
Anyone can practice meditation. It's simple and inexpensive, and it doesn't require any special equipment.
What is Meditation?
Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years. It was originally meant to help deepen understanding of the sacred and mystical forces of life. These days, meditation is commonly used for relaxation and stress reduction.
Meditation is considered a type of mind-body complementary medicine. It can produce a deep state of relaxation and a tranquil mind.
Because an overload of continuous or worried thoughts often contributes to stress, focusing your mind in a specific way during helps to ease the stream of racing thoughts that may be crowding and cluttering your mind. It helps to clear away the information overload that builds every day.
Benefits of a Meditation Practice
Meditation relaxes the entire brain, including the amygdala, which is the emotional center of the brain. As a result, meditation can give you a sense of calm, peace and balance that can improve your mental, emotional and even spiritual well-being. You can experience many benefits including the following:
- Gaining a new perspective on stressful situations
- Building skills to manage your stress
- Reducing negative emotions (anger, depression, anxiety, etc.)
- Increasing self-awareness
- Focusing on the present
- Increasing imagination and creativity
- Increasing patience and tolerance
- Fostering clear thinking
- Increasing feelings of happiness and joy
- Improving emotional stability
- Feeling more connected to others
- Appreciating life more
- Developing and strengthening intuition
- Bringing about personal transformation
- Increasing capacity for empathy and compassion
Meditation might also be useful if you have a medical condition, especially one that may be worsened by stress. Scientific research supports the physical health benefits of meditation. One study done showed that meditation relieves pain better than morphine. Meditation may help people manage symptoms of conditions such as:
- Chronic pain
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Sleep problems
- Tension headaches
Meditation isn't a replacement for traditional medical treatment. But it may be a useful addition to your other treatment.
“I Can’t Turn Off My Mind!”
When you are just starting off meditating don't judge your meditation skills, which may only increase your stress! Meditation takes practice. Don’t quit after just one or two attempts because you weren’t able to quiet your mind. Many people stop too soon saying they “just can’t meditate”. Meditation is the practice of teaching your mind to focus. It can feel like a daunting task at first, but it’s a process that gets easier each time you do it. So don’t give up and be kind to yourself during the process!
Know that it's common for thoughts to come in during meditation. That’s fine! When you notice you have thoughts, just bring your attention back to what you are focusing on. Even if you have to do that 1,000 times. It’s fine! That is the process of meditation.
Experiment, and you'll likely find out what types of meditation work best for you and what you enjoy doing. Adapt meditation to your needs at the moment. Remember, there's no right way or wrong way to meditate. What matters is that meditation helps you reduce your stress and feel better overall.