Modern life has provided mankind with many conveniences, from as basic as electricity to more recent innovations such as smartphones and tablets. It would be hard to imagine what it would be living without all these modern conveniences. However, the advancements enjoyed by today’s society have also brought some inconveniences and troubling issues, and one of the most prevalent negatives is stress. One can argue that stress has become the bane of the 21st-century existence.
Change Stress to a Mindset of Relaxation
Stress can be due to numerous factors such as intensified workload for increased productivity, obsession with competition, and the constant search for perfection. It can also be attributed to the difficulty of balancing work and personal life as well as major changes in social standards.
What’s even more worrying about stress is that it effects anyone, young and old. Stress also affects all social groups; it would be true to say there are very few who can escape its effects.
In the United States alone, anxiety disorders are effecting millions of people. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America estimates that 40 million people, aged 18 years and above have anxiety. This translates to around 18% of the country’s population. Out of that number, around 7 million suffer from general anxiety disorder while 15 million have a social anxiety disorder. Another 15 million people are believed to have a major depressive disorder and close to 8 million have post-traumatic stress disorder.
Unlike conditions such as flu or a cough, where medications can be prescribed, treatment of these mental health requires a different approach. Indeed, there’s no surgery for anxiety and depression. Fortunately, meditation presents an effective and easy means of coping with depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems.
How to Meditate
The concept being meditated upon can sometimes require or recommend a specific form of meditation, but we can find similarities among most meditation techniques. The first step in meditation is to calm the body by just focusing on a gentle breath. Or you can just sit in a comfortable position, eyes closed, and concentrate on relaxing the entire body, by scanning it from head to toe.
When the body is relaxed, you can then focus on the meditative object. For example, mindfulness practitioners would concentrate on things related to the present moment, like their own heartbeat or sensations on their skin. Alternatively, someone meditating to reduce pain may focus on a visualization of a healing blue light surrounding the area of pain and numbing it. Meditation is a valuable tool that can assist in many tasks by teaching you to pause, breath and let go.
Meditation is particularly useful in reducing stress. It is good to catch the ‘stressors’ early and do short meditations. A 2-minute breathing meditation is very effective with helping the stress disappear and allowing relaxation to take its place. It is better to do more short meditations, than to hold onto the stress for a week and attempt a longer weekly meditation.
Research shows that meditation is good for the health.
Give it a go, what have you to lose?