Categorized | General Health

Reasons Why You Should Meditate

1. Reduces Stress Naturally

What one person feels as stress may be very different than another. Some people are very calm on the surface but underneath they are brewing and could explode in a moment’s notice. While with others you can literally feel their stress. They are tense, often rushing around in a chaotic manner, talking fast and you feel worn out when they leave.

Recognizing how you feel and managing stress is important. If you feel stressed on a day to day basis it makes it harder to manage work, school as well as your family and friend relationships. Accumulation of stress definitely takes a toll on your emotional, physical and mental health.

In a survey done by the American Psychological Association in 2012, researchers found that 20 percent of Americans experience extreme levels of stress while 64 percent agreed managing stress is important (but only 37 percent of them felt they were managing it well). Only you truly know if you are managing it well.

Meditation is a wonderful way to reduce stress by calming the nervous system: I tell my clients to just try breathing while sitting quietly in a comfortable position for 5 to 15 minutes a day. Focus on breathing in and out and try to come back to your breath if your brain races and you are having a lot of thoughts.

Notice how your breath feels as your abdomen rises and falls and continue to pay attention to this while blocking out the distracting thoughts and sounds. This will help ease the mind chatter and sharpen your focus for the next task at hand. Some find it best to start their day with meditation while others find it helpful during their work day to regroup and focus better.

Being able to put aside stress-inducing thoughts, distracting devices and our work responsibilities takes an effort. Sometimes you have to schedule it in your day. When you take time to meditate it slows down your heart rate and allows your blood pressure to drop. This “relaxation response” is restorative to the body and allows you to feel a sense of calmness that lasts throughout the day.

2. Sparks Creativity

If you feel you’ve lost your inspiration for creating ideas, meditation may be the key to help you get back on track. Meditation gives your mind a “break” from the constant insight needed to churn out new ideas or solutions. Meditation calms the chatter in the mind and allows you to get back to the content creation with a renewed perspective – and even creates space for further insight.

I find that nature is a great recharger for me and sometimes “moving meditations” work wonders to allow the brain to download all its thoughts. I sometimes carry paper and pens when hiking so I can jot down the things that are rattling in my brain. Once they are written down I can let them go and just be in the moment and then I get totally recharged by the movement rhythm. When I give myself time to recharge I am much more productive upon returning to my office or project I was working on.

3. Maintains Good Health

If you practice mindful meditation it could help you curb cravings and the urge to grab junk food. In fact, practicing meditation could even help you lose weight. When we are stressed we tend to grab more carbohydrates and junk food for comfort. This can cause an increase in the belly fat due to a rise in cortisol (a stress hormone). Take a step back, sit down, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and see if the urge for the food goes away.

Being mindful of what you are doing when you are doing it in general is important. Multi-tasking does not work. There have been a number of studies done to look at this and they have concluded the best approach is to do one thing at a time and do it well. You will get done faster and more effectively.

Technology is driving us into an “immediate response syndrome” and sometimes things just need to wait. If you are feeling stressed with the email volume, get up and take a quick walk around the floor or the building where you work. While walking focus on taking deep breaths, rolling your shoulders back and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Even move your head up and down, look right, left put your ear on your shoulder left and right to stretch tension from your neck and upper back. (This is where we get tight being on computers so much). When you get back to your desk start prioritizing the emails and then work on doing them one at a time.

Hopefully meditation can become a part of your day and the few minutes spent in stillness will give you back ten times more in productivity.

Embrace the power of your breath.




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