How meditation helps with stress by Meher Singh

We all encounter stress in our day to day life. Meditation is a technique, if practised every day, will help decrease, control and manage our stress. It may be stress from work or stressful situations at home. Meditation can be practised anywhere. It has no constraints whether you are out for a walk, riding a cycle or even waiting in a lobby for an appointment.

Stress may have an adverse effect on your body, mind or even your thought process, which may affect your behaviour in some way or the other. If stress is left untreated or unmanaged, it can lead to a lot of problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity or even something as serious as heart disease, cancer, depression and asthma. One may feel a headache, pain in the chest, insomnia, upset stomach, muscle tension or even change in sex drive. Stress may also affect your mood in many ways. It may make you anxious, restless and angry or even overwhelmed. Behaviour problems that you may face are social withdrawals, tobacco, alcohol, drug use, angry outbursts or even over and under eating. There are different ways to manage stress, some of which are:

  • Relaxation exercises
  • Mediation
  • Exercise
  • Writing a journal
  • Aromatherapy
  • Herbal teas
  • Time with animals
  • Deep breathing

Meditation is economical and does not require any apparatus. If done well it can help you through a lot of medical problems. There are different ways of meditation like:

  • Mantra meditation: this type of meditation is where you silently repeat chanting words or phrases
  • Guided meditation: this is the kind where you form a mental image of a situation thing or even a place that may be relaxing for you. You may do this kind of practice with a guide or a teacher
  • Mindfulness: this kind of meditation is all about being mindful or having any sense of awareness. You tend to broaden your conscious awareness and during the process for mostly focusing on your breath and your thought process.
  • Yoga: Different postures and techniques practised in yoga also help a great deal to calm the mind and relieve stress.
  • Reading
  • Praying
  • Scanning and being aware of your body.
  • Vipassana: This technique helps you see things the way they are. This form of meditation is practised in full silence for X amount of days.

Meditation is one form of exercise that does not require any formal setting. It can be done anywhere and at any time. Some individuals like to start their day with meditation whereas some may like to end their day after meditation.

Different Ways Meditation Can Improve our Life

Meditation reduces stress.

Meditation is the mind without agitation. Stress creates agitation and is something most of us deal with on some level or another. Anti-anxiety medications are on the rise. Studies have shown that meditation is very empowering and improves the ability to regulate emotions in the brain.

It improves concentration.

Meditation has been linked to a number of things that lead to an increased ability to focus, be more centred and have a better memory. Greater concentration is related to the increased energy meditation provides. It connects you with your real source of energy.

It encourages a healthy lifestyle.

Meditation helps us prioritize things that are better for us like eating more fresh foods and cutting out all alcohol and tobacco intake. One just wants to put good things in our body that are closest to what is natural.

The practice increases self-awareness.

Meditation teaches us to recognize our own anger and become more detached from it. It calms and clears our minds and makes us more comfortable in our own skin. When we take more time to dive inside ourselves, we are more comfortable showing who we are.

It increases happiness.

Meditation puts you on the fast track to being happy. Studies have shown that brain signalling increases on the left side of the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for positive emotions, while activity decreases on the right side, responsible for negative emotions. The other benefits of meditation, including increased self-awareness and acceptance, also contribute to improved overall well-being.

Meditation increases acceptance.

Meditation helps us accept ourselves. We are able to explore our inner self. Learning to meditate is a lifetime job but it changes how we feel life and makes it more enjoyable for us.

It slows ageing.

Studies show that meditation changes to brain physiology to slow ageing. Cognition seems to be preserved in meditators and they also have more grey matter – literally, more brain cells. Meditation lengthens life and there is something about meditation that is associated with longer telomeres that reduce stress and its effects on the body.

The practice benefits cardiovascular and immune health.

Meditation induces relaxation, which increases the compound nitric oxide that causes blood vessels to open up and subsequently, blood pressure to drop. High blood pressure patients who started meditating could stop taking their blood pressure medication. Meditation also improves immunity. One hardly ever gets sick anymore.

The main goal of meditation is to achieve inner peace in whichever way suits you best. Meditation, if done in the right manner, helps you understand your own mind and helps you transform your mind from all the negative thoughts. With regular meditation practice, one may eventually be able to live happily, eliminate negativity and only look at the positive aspects of life. It will help you live a healthy and happy life, and will also help overcome challenges and difficult situation that you encounter.

Meher Singh