I remember seeing comedy shows or skits when I was young where someone is practicing meditation. There was usually one person closing their eyes and “ohm”ing while the other person tried to imitate them or simply made snide remarks. While we used to look upon meditation as being funny, ridiculous, or just plain odd; we now know about all the benefits it has to offer. Originally, meditation was used to focus and gain religious knowledge. Now, it is commonly used to reduce stress and live longer, happier, healthier lives.
So why is mediation so helpful for relieving stress? First of all, it helps focus the mind on something that is deeply and spiritually rooted. By focusing on one thing, you’re forced to forget the world around you and all the stressors that come with it. By closing your eyes and sitting in a quiet room, you also filter out the sights and sounds that may stress you. Meditation also helps repair the physical and mental damage caused by stress. The chemicals present in your body actually change during meditation making you more relaxed and peaceful.
The relaxing benefits from above are only the short term benefits Those factors are only successful in filtering out stress that you’ve already experienced and making you relaxed during and after your meditating. The real benefit of meditation is its longer term effects. If practiced on a daily basis, meditation can actually balance the levels of hormones and other stress related chemicals on a day-to-day basis; even when you’re not meditating. This means that meditation will not only help you unwind at the end of a stressful day, it can also leaved you more peaceful and less stressed during your long day at work.
The best part about meditation is, unlike yoga, it requires no special physical skills. While good meditation requires mental skills, you can start small and build your way up as you get more practice. Here’s how to get started.
* Find a quiet room and sit in a comfortable position. There is no specific “better” position, just one where you feel comfortable and can relax.
* Close your eyes and relax your muscles. Do this by focusing on each individual muscle, starting at the feet and working your way up. Focus on the stress leaving each muscle as it relaxes.
* Begin to breathe slowly while you repeat your mantra. This can be anything from the traditional “ohm” to something you find personally important. If you are religious or spiritual, you can chant something related to your beliefs.
* If you find your mind wandering, don’t beat yourself up about it; simply remain calm and return to your focus word.
* After 15 to 20 minutes, you can stop meditating and sit quietly for a few minutes before you return to your regular life.
By doing this regularly, you will train your mind and body to be more relaxed, peaceful and focused. You will find this not only affects your stress levels, but also your physical and mental functioning.