Are You Stressed: Try Meditation

Are you feeling tired?  Does your body ache and feel worn out?  Is it difficult to focus and concentrate?  Do you notice your heart racing?  Are you worried about the small stuff (and don’t even realize how small it truly is)?  Do you notice how easily annoyed and or agitated you get?  Are you getting frequent migraines?   If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, you may be STRESSED. 

Stress is nothing new, it’s a part of life.  But do you really appreciate how the symptoms above negatively impact how you show up at work or in your personal life.  Don’t wait for something terrible to happen before you make a change.  Try Meditation!  Meditation can be done at work or at home.  It can take as long as you choose; five, ten, fifteen or even sixty minutes.   According to NIH (National Institute of Health) Meditation can diminish or even resolve the above mentioned symptoms.  Some research suggests that Meditation may physically change the brain and body and could potentially help to improve many health problems and promote healthy behaviors.

What is Meditation

In short, Meditation is a way of calming yourself, letting go of your thoughts and becoming aware in the moment, openly and clearly.  It is a way of training the mind so that you are not distracted and caught up in its endless churning.  Specifically, according to Swami Rama; teacher, writer and humanitarian, meditation is a deliberate technique for resting the mind and attaining a state of consciousness that is totally different from the normal waking state.  The process of meditation follows a particular order, has definite principles, and produces results that can be verified.  In meditation, the goal is to clear the mind, relax, and focus inward.  Although you are fully awake and alert, your mind is not focused on events taking place around you but should be focused on an inner state that’s still, allowing the mind to become silent.  The mind is unruly, and resists any attempts to be guided to a particular path.  The process described above settles the mind and provides an experience described as the highest levels of peace and happiness.

Why Meditate

  • Lower stress levels, Meditation reduces the production of cortisol, otherwise known as the “stress hormone.”

  • Ability to think with clarity, without getting overwhelmed by emotions.

  • Allows for better sleep, Meditation relaxes the brain and body, making it easier to get a sound sleep. Showing up more productive and effective at work.

  • Enhances memory and concentration, while also improving one’s ability to learn. A recent study conducted by Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University found that after eight weeks of regular meditation, participants showed beneficial growth in areas of the brain associated with stress regulation, self-awareness, empathy, memory concentration and learning.

  • Enhances creativity and problem-solving skills. The mind has a habit of getting stuck in repetitive loops of thoughts that inhibit creativity and possibilities.  Meditation releases the mind from this pattern and leads it to a state of expanded awareness.

  • Makes relationships more harmonious. Meditation helps in making the individual feel calm and centered.  When one is calm, it becomes easy to avoid spontaneous reactions to toxic occurrences that might harm the relationship.

  • Improves performance at work with an enhanced ability to concentrate and focus on any given task.

How to Meditate

Find a simple, uncluttered, quiet place where you will not be disturbed.  Sit on the floor with a cushion under you or in a firm chair, with your back straight and your eyes closed.  Then bring your awareness slowly down through your body, allowing all of the muscles to relax except those that are supporting your head, neck, and back.  Take your time and enjoy the process of letting go of the tension in your body.  Meditation is the art and science of letting go, and this letting go begins with the body and then progresses to thoughts.

Once the body is relaxed and at peace, bring your awareness to your breath.  Notice which part of your lungs are being exercised as you breathe.  If you are breathing primarily with your chest you will not be able to relax.  Let your breathing come primarily through the movement of the diaphragm.  Continue to observe your breath without trying to control it.  At first the breath may be irregular, but gradually it will become smooth and even, without pauses and jerks.

Meditation is a process of giving your full attention to whatever object you have chosen.  In this case you are choosing to be aware of the breath.  Allow yourself to experience your breathing in an open and accepting way.  Do not judge or attempt to control or change it.  Open yourself so fully that eventually there is no distinction between you and the breathing.  In this process many thoughts will arise in your mind; if you simply remain aware of this process instead of reacting to the thought, you will become aware of how restless your mind is.  It tosses and turns like you do on a night when you cannot fall asleep.  Simply attend to those thoughts when they arise, without reacting, or if you react and attend to the reaction, then they cannot really disturb you.  Remember—- it is not the thoughts that disturb you, but your reaction to them.