Everyone experiences stress. Between work and family, budgets and bills, no one is immune to the daily pressure to get things done, get them done right, and get them done fast. It’s a scientific fact that stress takes a toll both mentally and physically, but you have more control over it than you think. Developing healthy lifestyle habits, modifying your emotions, and improving your problem-solving skills go a long way to help manage your stress levels.
Another way to relieve the daily pressure is to practice mindful meditation.
Buddhist Mind Control
There may be times when your thoughts, anxieties, and fears are spinning so crazily through your mind that you can’t even sleep. Buddhists call this terrible dance the “Monkey Mind.” It’s like an out-of-control nightclub in your head. You’re unintentionally winding yourself into ever-tighter knots of stress and anxiety.
As you already know, trying to ignore the thoughts, feelings, and problems won’t make them go away. Resistance, according to Buddhists, only makes the bad thoughts and feelings stronger. Consciously acknowledging the troubles, then shuttling them gently aside, is the Buddhist mind-trick of mindful meditation.
Meditation Vs. Medication
The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study in 2015 that showed that six weeks of practicing meditation equaled the effect of sleep medication on older adults suffering from insomnia and fatigue. Doctors noted that meditation triggered the relaxation response, which brings a sense of calmness and inner peace.
There are many different ways to meditate, but most follow these basic steps:
• Dedicate 15-20 minutes a day, twice a day
• Wear something comfortable and sit in a quiet place
• Breathe slowly, and if you like, repeat a mantra like “om” or “breathe” to focus your attention
• Acknowledge the feelings or thoughts that come to you, then return your focus to your breathing or your mantra
When Meditation Isn’t Enough
There’s nothing unusual about being nervous about a big decision, a new job, a burgeoning relationship, or a sudden relocation. But if you’re feeling constant anxiety that interferes with your daily life, or are experiencing physical affects like panic attacks, know that you’re not supposed to white-knuckle your way through life. Anxiety is a treatable condition. Contact a mental health professional and get back to living your days with joy.