Let’s face it, we live in stressful times. The more ways we can find to reduce that stress, the better off we’ll be
Meditation can be one of the most overlooked ways of reducing stress. To be fair, many folks remain skeptical about it. They remain puzzled regarding what is meditation and how does mediation helps But if you give it a chance, you’ll likely discover that meditation can be a useful tool in reducing stress.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is quite similar to the way it’s been portrayed in movies and TV shows. It involves sitting down and trying to relax while clearing your mind of all thoughts. At most, you’re focused on only one thing. Some people focus on their breathing. They do nothing but listen to themselves inhale and exhale time after time. Others will count or repeat a mantra they want to be their focus as they try to clear their mind. Meanwhile, some folks just put their focus on saying the word “oommm” as they try to relax and clear their mind.
In time, your mind will begin to wonder, perhaps going to places you never expected. You should remain open to wherever your mind wants to wander. This can be how you begin to understand things better and become more aware of the emotions you feel. This is key to reducing your stress.
The key to meditating is having at least five minutes of silence so that you can focus on your breathing or mantra and put all other thoughts out of your mind. Typically, the longer you can meditate, the better. However, it’s good to set a time limit before you begin. For novice meditators, five minutes is a good goal. Eventually, you can work your way up to 20 minutes or longer during every meditation session.
How Does Meditation Helps?
As it relates to stress and anxiety, how does meditation helps? To put it as simply as possible, meditation helps to trigger your body’s natural relaxation response. If you’ve ever sat poolside with a cocktail in your hand and without a care in the world, you know what true relaxation feels like. Meditation aims to replicate this feeling for the body without the cocktail or poolside setting.
While in a meditative state, your body can calm itself and recover from any stress it might be feeling. If you ever feel your body’s fight-or-flight reflexes kicking in, this is an example of your body experiencing stress. Unfortunately, this happens more often than most people realize. Meditation can help calm both your body and mind if you’ve experienced fight-or-flight stress recently.
Teaching Your Brain A New Skill
Experienced meditators are sometimes able to recover from stressful situations quicker. They have trained their minds to handle stressful emotions. It’s akin to teaching your brain a new skill. It’s also worth noting that meditating provides a boost to their overall mood, making them less vulnerable to stressful situations. As a result, they experience less stress in their lives.
Moreover, research shows evidence that regular meditation can start to change the way your body responds to stress. By meditating and freeing our minds, we can become more away of our emotions. We can better process them and move on from them quicker so they don’t linger, which can lead to stress. Even powerful emotions like grief can be processed quicker because meditation gives us a greater capacity to feel and understand our emotions.
Is Meditation Good for You?
In addition to helping you respond to the stress in your life in a more positive way, there are several other health benefits to make meditation a regular part of your life. For starters, meditation helps to improve your breathing, which leads to more oxygen pumping through your body.
Your breathing and resting heart rate can even slow down, which is beneficial for your overall health.
There is also research to suggest that meditation can reduce the rate at which your mind ages. This means your memory won’t fade as quickly and you will remain sharp as you age. The clear mind that comes with regular meditation can also improve your creativity. People who meditate are also able to let things go and not obsess over the parts of their day that didn’t go as they would have liked. There is also evidence that regular meditators are better at kicking bad habits like smoking. Of course, giving up those kinds of addictions is just another way that meditation can help reduce the overall stress in your life.