|Meditation - the natural remedy for stress|
Meditation - the natural remedy for stress12-Jun-2012, Mariette Jansen
We all know Meditation can have profound results and before we reach for the tranquilisers its got to be worth a shot ! I’m excited to have found ‘The Meditation Wave’ a course of 5 one minute meditations – even I can fit that into a day ! The creator Mariette Jansen explains the benefits of meditation…
The natural remedy for all stress related issues is Meditation
Even though we are all familiar with the word meditation, a lot of us won’t have experienced it. In his book, "What is Meditation?" (Shambhala Publications, 1999), Rob Nairn talks about it as a state of "bare attention." He explains, "It is a highly alert and skillful state of mind because it requires one to remain psychologically present and 'with' whatever happens in and around one without adding to or subtracting from it in any way."
In easier language it means the meditator is highly alert, and detached at the same time. An example of that is when during a meditation I observe the sensations when I feel an insect walking over my arm. I don’t engage, I am highly aware and emotionally detached. In normal circumstances I would want to shake the insect of, but not when meditating.
Recent research indicates that meditating brings about dramatic effects, even when doing very brief meditations. Several studies have demonstrated that meditators showed increased alpha waves (the relaxed brain waves) and decreased anxiety and depression.
MRI technology was used at Harvard Medical School to monitor brain activity during meditation. One of the findings was that sections of the brain were activated that govern the functions in our bodies that we can't control, such as digestion and blood pressure. These are also the functions that are often affected by stress.
Hence, meditation will help to reduce or prevent stress-related physical conditions such as heart disease, digestive problems and infertility.
How to do it…
Sitting on a mountain top for hours in an uncomfortable position is not the only way to meditate. The key activity in meditation is focus. It is irrelevant what you focus on, as long as the whole of your awareness is in it. A few minutes a day is enough.
The easiest way is to sit, on a chair, or cross legged (if that is comfortable for you) with your back straight and shoulders relaxed. Then choose what to focus on. This can be your breathing, what you smell or hear, the flame of a candle, body scanning, feelings or a guided meditation. Anything will do as long as that is the only thing you do.
Essential in meditation practice is the notion of acceptance. We accept where we are, who we are, and go with the flow of events. Every meditator will tell you that every meditation is an adventure in itself. You can’t predict what happens, but whatever it is, it is fine. The mental attitude of acceptance helps immediately in releasing tension; if we don’t accept, we want to fight and our fight response goes with tightness in muscles and tension in our head. When we accept, we can relax.
The duration of a meditation is irrelevant for the beneficial effects. What is important is to make it a regular practice. As with all remedies, they don’t change you overnight but in the case of meditation, it won’t take longer than a few weeks to notice changes on a physical and mental level.
You can sign up for meditation groups, maybe there is a workshop close to where you live and of course you can do it in your own home, in your own time, by yourself.
This can be difficult, but there are simple courses available to support you in this.
A natural stress attacker: 1 minute meditations
As a busy working mum, time is precious and needs to be approached with ‘TLC’. I can be pretty efficient, but got myself in a bit of panic when a few years ago I was asked to do a course: 1.5 day a week for 6 weeks. That in itself doesn’t sound too demanding, but as my week was carefully and fully planned, I faced the challenge of losing out 1.5 day that I did not have……..
I made a decision that may sound counterproductive: I got up 45 minutes earlier than I needed to and did a meditation. I was meditating regularly for years, putting it into my planning for the day. But as happened, when ‘life got in the way’ I had to give my meditation a miss.
Not so when it was rigidly scheduled as the first action of the day. I was truly amazed by the benefits: I felt physically fitter, more focussed and got through those 6 weeks with no issues.
I have never looked back since. Every morning at 6 the latest, I will be ‘sitting’ for half an hour and during the day I will take regularly a ‘time-out’ for a brief meditation.
Even though a lot people are interested in meditation, most of them are not prepared to take out half an hour of their day. It started me thinking about a meditation tool that takes less time, is easy and effective. As a result I came up with a 28 day course, online, where people did up to 5x a day a 1 minute meditation. This one minute technique really helped people to ‘get in the zone’ or ‘step out of the stress zone’.
I collected data from the people who did this course and it showed that everyone who had sleeping problems improved significantly. Situations like job interviews or challenging meetings were not perceived as stressful as before and the biggest benefit: the sense of control. Instead of stress controlling them, they took control of the stress. A great reward for a 5 minute investment!
Dr Mariette Jansen http://stressfreecoaching.co.uk/the-wave/
Meditation with a Western flavour
Designer of The Meditation Wave
(5 minutes a day course for 1 month, to learn how to integrate meditation into a busy lifestyle)