Health and Fitness

The Benefits Of Meditation For Stress Management

We all experience various amounts of stress during our lives. If it is left to build up over a long period of time, then it can be really damaging to your health. Instead of turning to alcohol or prescription drugs (which bring their own problems), why not try meditation?

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Everyone has stress to deal with on a daily basis, so what is the big deal? A lot of stress is very short term, and we can deal with it quite comfortably. However if stress levels remain high for a long period of time (chronic stress) and go untreated, the effects to our physical health and emotional well-being can be devastating.

The human body automatically responds to stress in exactly the same way as it does to the threat of imminent danger. The benefits of the heightened state of agitation (known as the fight or run response) can be really useful in moments of extreme danger, but remaining in this stressed out state for long periods of time can actually cause damage to the body. Hence the reason for a large number of stress related

There can be little doubt that an in-ability in society to cope with stress has led to increased numbers of people with a growing dependency to alcohol and drugs (prescription or illegal). Learning how to recognize, cope with and reduce stress levels is crucial to our mental and physical well-being. One solution is to practice meditation.

Before you dismiss meditation as some new-aged mumbo jumbo or crazy alternative therapy for hippies, lets take a look at what it actually is. Meditation has the exact opposite effect on your body to stress, returning it to a calm and tranquil state. Meditation is simply a relaxation technique which takes you to a better and more peaceful place. It can not only help you to cope with your current stress levels, but can also significantly reduce them. When you practise meditation, your breathing and heart rate will slow down and blood pressure returns to normal as your stress starts to melt away. Now lets take a look at how you can learn to relax and practice meditation.

Meditating is not as complicated as you may think and the good news is that anybody can learn to do it. The first thing you need to do is find a quiet room in your home or office, where you will not be disturbed. Sit in a relaxed position and try to totally clear your mind, you need to persevere as this will become easier and more comfortable with practice. Focus on your breathing, make a humming sound or simply just relax as you meditate for a period of around 15 – 20 minutes. This is very basic meditation (ideal for beginners) and there are lots of different meditation techniques.

The benefits of meditation are that it can be done almost anywhere, it is totally free and does not take up a lot of your time. Practising meditation will feel uncomfortable at first, and you may feel a little silly, but I urge you keep trying until it becomes a normal part of your day. Reduce your stress levels and transport yourself to a calmer state with the magic of meditation.

Ernestina Chacko is a writer and a photographer. Before joining, she was a senior contributor at Bloomberg USA.