Reducing Stress, Part 2: Meditation
A huge part of reducing stress is calming the mind. One of the most difficult tasks is sitting still – no TV, no iPhone, no trashy magazines – just you and your thoughts. Ah ha . . . it’s those thoughts that keep racing right? Well, the heart of finding beauty within is to take time out of your day to observe your mind, shut off your thoughts, take in conscious breaths and be still – otherwise known as meditation.
Meditation – sounds all a bit daunting? I know what you’re thinking: it’s not for me. I don’t have enough time. I’ve got kids – no can do. Impossible! Stop right there. Meditation can be simple, as long as you understand it and you learn about what works for you.
Researchers say that meditation helps you lower blood pressure, helps alleviate chronic pain, boosts your immune system and increases your brain function – sounds better than falling in love. Well, maybe not!
You don’t have to give up hours of your day either. As little as twelve minutes of meditation a day, over eight weeks, can reduce stress and decrease inflammation in the body. Not only that, it changes the response of a staggering sixty-eight genes in the body. How incredible is that? You can download meditation apps to your phone for a quick fix and there are loads of courses to help as well.
I have practiced transcendental meditation for many years. It’s based on the simple premise of keeping your eyes closed in silence, while repeating a word (or mantra) over and over in your mind. Ideally, you do this for about twenty minutes each day, but even five minutes a day will make a big difference in your stress levels.