The world is a hectic scary place and with the current social divisions our politics continues to indirectly promote, the world is becoming even scarier and feels like it’s a lot smaller. It feels as if some of the violence we see across the other side of the world is right around the corner from us. It’s hard to know which way is up and which way is down with all of the disingenuous discourse occurring daily in our media cycles. If you watch the news for a few hours, you’d believe the world is on the brink of World War 3, there are millions of gangs and killers sneaking into our country to steal our children and the Economy is amazing despite you living paycheck to paycheck.
If you find yourself working at a job where it’s hard to imagine a bright future, this could impact your overall well-being in a negative way. There is no fulfillment out of the job. You basically just show up for a paycheck to pay your bills, but it never seems like it’s enough adding to more stress in your life. Because many of us find ourselves living paycheck to paycheck, there isn’t much fun to be had outside of work. Much of the money needs to go to responsible things even though many of us would like to go out and let loose to ease some tension in our lives.
As a society, we all have so much more to juggle as the year’s progress. We want to keep up with society expectations, norms and be equal contributors to our economy. The problem is the amount of pressure many of us find ourselves under trying to maintain the status quo. According to news.gallup.com1, about eight in 10 Americans say they frequently (44%) or sometimes (35%) encounter stress in their daily lives. Just 17% say they rarely feel stressed, while 4% say they never do. That’s a lot of people walking around with tense shoulders. You’d think massage parlors and chiropractors would be killing it right now.
The sad truth is that many of us just deal with the stress with no focus on outlets to relieve the stress. What many people don’t know is the tangible affects stress has on the human body, physically and mentally making us sick. In fact, mayoclinic.org2 claims stress that's left unchecked can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. In other words, not only will you be stressed, unpleasant to be around and sick, but you can also throw in very not sexy in the mx.
Some may not be able to afford expensive spa treatments to help alleviate stress. Some are not avid exercisers, maybe not into therapy and many of us just don’t know what to do to ease stress. There is something you can do that won’t cost you a thing but time. Meditation has gotten many people through very stressful times. It’s a from an extreme self-reflection and self-love. Give yourself unfettered attention and time to process all of the information thrown at us daily. Sometimes, we need to take a beat and calm down for a sec to process whatever is going on with us. It’s these missed moments that lead to heavy stress burdens. With a little meditation, all things become clear, quiet and you’re able to put many issue into perspective and find resolutions.
The Benefits of Meditation
Many people have an unfortunate preconceived notion of the idea of meditation. Some skeptics disregard meditation as fluff and “make you feel good” medicine that doesn’t do anything for you. From a political spectrum, some would brush it off as nothing more than a liberal idea. Something that elitists do with their coastal money. Those people would be definitively incorrect. Generally, people who frequent yoga classes or have a fundamental knowledge of holistic medicine, are well informed on the practice and benefits of meditation. They also fully understand meditation is for all walks of life from any background, no matter the stress level. The advantages of meditation can be seen in its mental and physical health benefits. For example, it is most commonly known for its use in stress reduction. Reducing stress improves areas like immune system functionality and improved heart health. You may find yourself getting more sleep, which will assist with memory improvement and alertness.
Meditation isn’t a one-time deal and then you feel better. It’s a lifestyle change which you must embrace. Don’t focus on doing it right and seeing results immediately. Focus on the task at hand and everything else will melt away. Practicing regularly will improve your health outcomes and facilitate the improvement in your meditation abilities.
Meditation in 5 Simple Steps
To get started practicing meditation, it doesn’t take much at all. Just a little time. Try out these simple steps to get you started.
1. Find a Comfortable Position
Finding a comfortable position sounds like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people become distracted trying to continually get comfortable. The session becomes stressful going in and out of focus, which defeats the purpose. Find a position you can stay in comfortably for quite a while. This position may change over time the more comfortable you become with the practice.
2. Focus on Your Breathing
Pay attention to how your body breaths and how everything interacts with that breath. Focus in on your breathing and you’ll quickly forget there was anything else to focus on. Listening to your own breaths can slip you into a sort of transient state where you’ll feel like nothing else exists but your breathing.
3. Find Your Center
This is important. It’s a form of finding your happy place. Where is the moment you feel the most balanced? You are searching for that moment where you feel calm, focused and undeterred. Finding your center and staying in that moment will help with your meditation.
4. Perform a Body Scan
Performing a body scan is mentally traveling throughout your body to see where problem areas could be, and staying in those moments till you flush out whatever mental blockers may be hindering you. This will also help you find your center with a form of internal reflection or an internal diagnostic check.
5. Meditate Daily
Most importantly, practice makes perfect. The more often you meditate, the better you will become at it and you will experience a dramatic improvement in your mental and physical health.