Are you concerned about your stress level? You’re not alone. According to the Washington Post, “54 percent of Americans are concerned about the level of stress in their everyday lives.” Let’s face it-we live hectic lives. We routinely juggle jobs, marriage, children, social lives and-more and more frequently-trips to the doctor to treat our stress related illnesses. Once considered an unfortunate, but harmless, by product of our modern lives, stress is now regarded as a killer. It can cause high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, ulcers, and a host of other painful, dangerous, or deadly conditions. But you can stop-and even reverse-the effects of stress. All it takes is a little time, a little effort-and a LOT or relaxation.
Meditate it Away
In the early seventies, Dr. Herbert Benson, of the Harvard Medical School, made a groundbreaking medical discovery-that meditation, what he called “the relaxation response,” does have a positive effect on your mental and physical health. No researcher has ever been able to refute Benson’s findings.
Now you can use this information to easily, and pleasurably, combat stress and all of its negative health consequences.
An Easy Way to Meditate
Meditation is not hard, does not take any special equipment, and does not take up a lot of your time. You do, however, need to meditate regularly to reap its health giving benefits. A good routine is to meditate 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening.
Here is an easy way to meditate:
*Go to a quiet room where you will not be disturbed for at least 20 minutes. The temperature of the room should be comfortable, neither too hot nor too cold. Make sure that your clothing is likewise comfortable. You should wear something loose, not binding. Set a timer for 20 minutes (so your meditation won’t be interrupted by you continually looking at a clock.)
*Sit in a comfortable, straight-backed chair. Your spine should be straight. Put your hands in your lap. Close your eyes. Start breathing slowly.
*Bring your whole attention to your breath. Feel it as it enters and leaves your nose. Feel is as it expands and deflates your lungs.
*Think about nothing but your breath and how it feels it breathe. When stray thoughts pop into your mind (and they will) just let them go and bring your attention gently back to your breath. In. Out. In. Out. Continue breathing like this for about five minutes.
*Now, concentrate on your body. With each exhalation, imagine that your body is relaxing a little more. Feel your muscles releasing and the tension leaving your body a little more with each exhalation.
*When you feel that your body is completely relaxed, bring your mind back to your breath. Continue breathing slowly. Concentrate on each breath. Any time a thought enters your mind, let it go and bring your attention back to your breathing.
*Continue breathing like this until your timer indicates that your meditation is over.
That’s all there is to it. Meditation is not hard at all, but it does take some practice. At first, you will probably become bored and not know why you ever decided to undertake such a stupid practice. But stick with it. Your body and your mind will thank you. .