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Do you have difficulties in dealing with daily issues in your work and personal life? Do you get stressed easily? If the answer is yes, then you should consider finding ways to help yourself cope. A mental pressure build up of stress and anxiety can affect your well-being in negative ways. When we are stressed, blood in our body is flooded with cortisol and adrenaline. This increases blood pressure and heart rate to allow our muscles to react fast, and is meant to happen when we need to escape a harmful situation. However, when we are stressed in other ways, such as work, home, family, money, etc. the body doesn’t know the difference and the “fight and flight” response is released. Being in this stressful state over a long period of time is not healthy and affects our mental and physical health eventually making us ill.
Coping with stress doesn’t have to be hard, as a matter of fact there is a really simple solution that requires just 10 minutes of your time each day. What is it you ask? Meditation.
Meditation has been found to be very effective in dealing with stress. It has been recognized in both the scientific community and spiritual community as a healthy solution to a number of emotional and mental challenges. It helps in understanding the true nature of our mind, to discover ourselves thoroughly by taking us deep into our consciousness.
Research has been found that individuals who practice meditation on a regular basis have a more positive approach towards life compared to those who do not meditate. Meditation improves health, enhances performance and significantly aids in stress reduction.
Continuous research with an aim of inventing efficacious meditation means have led experts to classify various techniques into two broad categories:
Concentration: The technique that is concerned with focusing on an object which is normally outside oneself. The practice where one needs to concentrate on objects like counting the beads on a mala, the flame of a candle, an instrumental or reciting a specific mantra, etc.
Non-concentration: This is a category which implies broader focus, such as, a particular sound in an environment or one’s own breathing, etc.
Apart from the above classifications of techniques, some other categories are as follows:
Basic techniques are to sit and focus on your breath while allowing your thoughts to enter your mind but simply not giving those thoughts any special attention. Take note of the thoughts and then gently return your focus back to your breathing continuing in this manner for at least 10 minutes. If you do this technique on a regular basis, you should notice its beneficial effects within a very short period of time.
Activity-oriented technique involves regular and repetitive practice of certain activities, such as, yoga. Doing this quiets the mind, thereby reducing the level of stress and anxiety in a person allowing them to be present in the moment.
Mindfulness meditation is concerned with ‘be in the now’ principle. Focusing on each and every sensation of your body will be an effective way of attaining this type of technique.
Spiritual meditation acts as the base for prayer and speaking to God. This will allow you to experience inner wisdom on the soul level, while your mind comes to peace.
Walking meditation involves a casual stroll in your garden or park while being in a state of awareness of the things surrounding you. This is very simple and anybody can do it quite easily. In fact, we sometimes do it unknowingly. Just be sure to keep your eyes open while walking!
Guided meditation can be conducted in person under the supervision of an experienced instructor or in a pre-recorded sound file or CD. All you need to do is to sit back and follow the instructions carefully. The choice of the style of a guided session rests with you. These meditations have proved very effective, as you can listen to the recorded versions as many times as you want.
These are just a sample of the types or styles of meditation available, but there’s no set requirement for a meditation technique. They are meant to be different and customized according to your particular preferences. Choose whatever way best suits you, because relaxation of mind and body is the most important purpose. During the initial stages, practicing for long hours is not advised; brief sessions of about 10 to 20 minutes should be what you are aiming for.
Just remember, to begin is the most important step! Be flexible, and make changes in your lifestyle to include meditation, for life itself will become less stressful through maintaining a regular meditation practice.