Throughout this past month I have encountered many clients who have been experiencing severe anxiety, depression, stress and even panic attacks. Some are starting to experience the onset of seasonal depression. Depression, anxiety, stress and panic attacks are all manageable, if we have the proper tools to help us through the rough patches in our lives. I fully believe in massage and the many benefits it offers a person emotionally. However, I also know massage cannot be done on a daily basis, due to financial and time constraints. So what can we do? There are many things you can do, however in this article I am going to concentrate on what I know works (for me) and what I refer my clients to, meditation.
What is meditation? There are several different definitions for meditation, because it means a lot of different things depending on the culture or religion being researched. The most common definition today, however, is a method of training of the mind, often inducing a mode of consciousness different from that of everyday life. Most meditation commonly practiced today revolves around learning to clear your mind for a specified amount of time, in an effort to create some quiet and focused energy. The different mode of consciousness in most cases is a state of quiet and peace, which is the ultimate goal of most modern meditation practices.
Meditation brings many benefits: It refreshes us, helps us settle into what’s happening now, makes us wiser and gentler, helps us cope in a world that overloads us with information and communication, and more. How? By increasing your capacity to resist distracting urges.
Research shows that an ability to resist urges will improve your relationships, increase your dependability, and raise your performance. If you can resist your urges, you can make better, more thoughtful decisions. You can be more intentional about what you say and how you say it. You can think about the outcome of your actions before following through on them.
Our ability to resist an impulse determines our success in learning a new behavior or changing an old habit. It’s probably the single most important skill for our growth and development.
Meditating daily will strengthen your willpower muscle. Your urges won’t disappear, but you will be better equipped to manage them. And you will have experiences that prove to you that the urge is only a suggestion. You are in control.
Does that mean you never follow an urge? Of course not. Urges hold useful information. If you’re hungry, it may be a good indication that you need to eat. But it also may be an indication that you’re bored or struggling with a difficult piece of work. Meditation gives you practice having power over your urges so you can make intentional choices about which to follow and which to let pass.
So how do you do it? If you’re just starting, keep it very simple. Sit with your back straight enough that your breathing is comfortable — on a chair or a cushion on the floor (sometimes I sit with my legs up on the couch) — and set a timer for however many minutes you want to meditate. Once you start the timer, close your eyes, relax, and don’t move except to breathe, until the timer goes off. Focus on your breath going in and out. Every time you have a thought or an urge, notice it and bring yourself back to your breath. Do not expect to be perfect at this. I am NOT a great meditator; however, the practice of clearing the mind is relaxing in itself. I started the practice of meditation with a 21-day meditation challenge with Oprah and Deepak Chopra. It was amazing. They are starting another meditation challenge on November 3rd. Here is the link, https://chopracentermeditation.com/home/?acode=oprah. It is FREE. You have nothing to lose, except the stress and anxiety. I encourage all of you who are reading this to try it out. I know you will not be disappointed. I would love to hear your comments if you do decide to do the challenge.
Take Care and Be Well.
With love & Gratitude ~ Mindy