In this age of instant gratification and "gotta have it now!" mentality, many of us feel overwhelmed, over-worked, and anxious. Life moves so fast that even
stopping to take a deep breath sometimes seems challenging. Our bodies are well equipped to react to stress (think fight or flight response), but a constant, heightened state of alert takes its toll on our mental and physical capabilities. Studies show that chronic stress has an effect on nearly every system in our bodies, resulting in a suppressed immune system, increased risk of heart attack and high blood pressure, enhanced aging process, and depression.
To stop the stress cycle one must retrain thought processes and reactions. Along with spending time at a spa or taking a restorative yoga class, developing a meditation practice is one way to quiet the mind and slow down. Dr. Fred Travis, director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition at Maharishi University explains that meditation helps people change their view of themselves and the world, which improves how they react to daily stressors. Each area of our brain is assigned to a different task; when brains are healthy these tasks are integrated. Stressful experiences prevent certain areas of our brain from functioning properly. Meditation helps create a state of “restful alertness” which reduces stress, strengthens communication between the different areas of the brain, and develops brain functioning. As a result, a consistent meditation practice ignites more purposeful thinking and decision-making and the emotional response to the world is more balanced and appropriate.
Meditation for beginners:
In order to gain the most out of meditation, make a commitment to do it daily at a regularly scheduled time (some say it takes 21 days to form a new habit, so stay with it!).
1. Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. Perhaps fill the background with gentle instrumental music or soothing sounds such as Sounds True Crystal Bowl Meditation to help you to relax.