Stressed Much? Meditate!
This season brings more stress than other seasons, am I right? There are holidays to plan, family visiting, gifts to buy and let’s not forget the stress of the constant test of willpower around all of those holiday treats. There are also stressors at work, year-end deadlines to meet, taxes to file, and products to launch.
For this reason, I thought I’d share from my upcoming book (working title: How to Not Get Sick). Stress is a fact of modern life, so learning how to manage it has a direct affect on your well being. Poorly managed stress will suppress your immune system, leaving you that much more susceptible to getting sick.
There are many ways to manage stress. In one of my old blog posts, I give some suggestions on how to reduce stress as well as info about the long term effects of stress on the adrenal system and how a build up of cortisol can lead to problems like heart disease and liver damage, higher blood pressure, and hormone imbalances that lead to thyroid issues and excess weight that just won’t budge. Any of this happening for you?
One method for stress reduction that I didn’t put in my previous blog post is one that I have used regularly in my very stressful past year recovering from cancer. It is meditation.
Before you click this blog page closed, swearing off any possibility of meditation being right for you and your version of stress, hear me out. A large body of research has established that having a regular meditation practice produces many, many health benefits, including:
- Reduced production of stress hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline
- Decreased blood pressure and hypertension
- Lowered cholesterol levels
- More efficient oxygen use by the body
- Increased production of the anti-aging hormone DHEA
- Improved immune function
- Decreased anxiety, depression, and insomnia
Meditating doesn’t need to be complicated or time consuming. You don’t need a mantra or to be able to sit in the lotus position! I recommend starting with just 5 or 10 minutes a day. Sit comfortably, and focus on your breathing. If you get pulled by a thought, simply come back to your breath. That’s it!
I hear frequently that people can’t sit still or can’t clear their heads. “I can’t stop thinking!” Well that’s because it is impossible to stop thinking! Humans are thought making machines. The more you meditate though, the easier it will be to not get pulled by your thoughts and stay centered on your breath. You will be more able to let the thoughts drift by like clouds in the sky while you stay with your breath. The point of meditating is not to “clear your mind”; the point is to be present. And this is all it takes to reap the huge health benefits of meditation.
I encourage you to give meditation a try this holiday season!