We all experience stress when we are confronted or overwhelmed by a given situation. Whether it is your boss pressing for an impossible deadline, an officemate who keeps breathing down your throat, a nasty break-up, or being chased down by a stray dog, it all boils down to you having an emotional and physical struggle called stress.
A survey done by American Psychological Association showed that adults continue to experience high levels of stress and many reports say that their pressure has increased over the past year.
The American Psychological Association also says that 75% of adults reported experiencing moderate to high levels of stress in the past month and nearly half reported that their stress has increased in the past year.
Though stress can be helpful initially as it triggers your natural fight or flight feedback, being exposed to it for too long and for too much can lead to systemic changes in your body. In fact, the inability to cope with stress very well increases your risk of experiencing symptoms of depression.
In the fast-paced world that we live in, stress can build up quickly, and before you know it, you are fuming, or anxious, or tense. These factors can quickly lead to mental disorders such as depression.
Clinical signs and symptoms include difficulty memorizing or concentrating, inability to make decisions, easy fatigability and insomnia. All of these make activities of daily living hard for any individual and would likely be a liability at work.
There are a lot of activities to reduce stress being offered. Some people go to spas and have a massage; others play video games or sports with their friends. Artsy people get relief from painting, doing crafts or playing some musical instrument.
As much as we want to free ourselves from the toxicity of being an adult, we might just not find a consistent time to do it as commitments and responsibilities hinder us from having this kind of moments.
But what if I told you that I have a sure-fire way of handling anxiety, tension and rage and ultimately downsizing your stress level at any given place, for free, without using any equipment, all within 15 minutes?
Meditation is a practice that has been around for thousands and thousands of years now, but there is still a massive misconception about it.
People would often think of a monk sitting cross-legged near a waterfall or on top of a hill when asked about what comes up to their mind when they think of meditation.
Meditation was initially practiced to develop a profound understanding of the spiritual and occult aspects of life. It is found all throughout the history, more notably in a religious context.
Now, meditation is not just about religious background only, but it is also practiced for numerous purposes ranging from improving memory to relieving stress.
Contrary to popular belief, the earliest record ever dated that speaks of meditation comes from the Hindu traditions of ancient India. It was not until the 6th to the 5th BCE that other forms of meditations advanced in Taoist China and Buddhist India.
At present, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medication (NCCAM), the component of National Institute of Health that studies medical practices that are not part of standard medical care, considers meditation as a complementary mind-body medicine.
What Happens During Meditation?
The principle of meditation is simple: a peaceful mind will bring real happiness. It’s not as easy as it sounds as it gets more complicated than that. An average human brain was developed and programmed by outside factors to think and contemplate.
It is a human’s curiosity that leads to many discoveries and advancement of civilizations. It is a human’s imperative to ask, seek, speculate and reflect and we have been doing that since the dawn of time. But as we learn more about things, the more questions were being raised.
Benefits of Meditation
There are a lot of benefits of meditation that an individual can gain and they include both emotional well-being and a person’s overall health.
When you are doing meditation, the emotional build-ups earned every day will be cleared and would be replaced by self-awareness, gaining a new perspective on trying occasions and reducing negative emotions.
Furthermore, people that developed emotional baggage that lead to psychiatric disorders improved on meditation. In a 2014 literature review of 47 trials done in 3,515 participants, the meditation program resulted in a moderate evidence of elevated anxiety and depression.
A study done by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) with 54 adults suffering from chronic insomnia showed improvement in their condition after being taught a meditation-based program to aid their sleep.
Another study funded by NCCIH in 2011 where 279 adults participated for an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) found out that changes in spirituality are correlated to a better psychological health and quality life.
How to Do Meditation
Eventually, we will be able to stay happy all the time, even in the most difficult circumstances.
The goal of meditation is to have a calm and peaceful mind. The thought would be free from mental discomfort and worry if it’s peaceful, thus achieving true happiness.
It says that if you train in meditation, your mind will become friendlier and would be eventually happy all the time, even in the most challenging circumstances.
The following elements are necessary for a productive meditation session:
- A quiet setting – It doesn’t matter as much to a person who is more skilled in meditation than to beginners. Individuals who have been meditating for a long time can contemplate even in a loud environment.
- A comfortable position – It doesn’t always mean sitting in crossed legs, find a place that is convenient and cozy for you. It can be standing or lying in bed, as long as you maintain a straight spine.
- A passive but receptive attitude – This is what keeps your mind from all the distractions, which could be an external or an internal cause. The stimuli should be able to pass freely through your mind.
- An object of focus – It could be the rhythm of your breath or the beat of your heart. You could chant words, called mantra; the most common one is “Om” which means peace. This aims to focus your attention on something so that your thoughts would not drift on other things.
Meditation may be hard at first but it doesn’t take much time and the means are simple and most importantly, safe. It is recommended to everyone, not just for people who are stressed. It can wipe away your stress and can bring an inner peace that our soul yearns for.