mindful meditation

Benefits Of Mindful Meditation As A Stress Management Tool

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The Effects Of Stress On Society

mindful meditation

The effects of stress on society has devastated the world’s population in one form or another everyday in the 21st century. No country is immune to its impact despite the vast amount of technological, psychological, and medicinal breakthroughs. Whether physical or mental, stress is something we all need to cope with much better than we have been no matter how good or bad the situation is.

According to data from a July 19, 2016 research study, the Statistic Brain Research Institute released the following information regarding stress on the average person:

  1. 77% of people regularly experience physical symptoms of stress.
  2. 73% of people regularly experience  psychological symptoms of stress.
  3. 48% of people say stress has a huge negative impact on both their personal and professional life.
  4. 80% of workers feel large amounts of stress on the job and over 50% say they need help in managing their stress.
  5. 76% of people cited money and work as the leading cause of their stress.
  6. stress is now the top health concern for teens in grades 9-12.
  7. $300 Billion are spent annually by employers to combat the effects of stress in stress related healthcare.

These are staggering numbers indeed but we shouldn’t be too shocked as to the reasons why stress management is one of the most important things we can do to live a longer and healthier life.

How To Reduce And Overcome Stress Related Symptoms

The human body can experience various amounts of stress and still hold on but there are many ways to diffuse the stress even before it begins. Everyone deals with stress in their own way but many allow it to get the better of them and cope by compounding the problem with unhealthy lifestyle choices.

While the West still clings to its outdated ideas that drugs can reduce stress or even overcome stress related symptoms, Eastern philosophy has used mindful meditation to ease the burdens of stress and help its followers cope with everyday life.

Mindful meditation is a totally natural way to solve your stress and health related problems. In mindful meditation, you transform the way your mind works to respond differently under pressure to situations in life. Studies from the University of Massachusetts Medical School as well as The University of Oxford in England show that when you allow your mind to meditate for just a few minutes each day, you can reduce the stress levels you face which improve your quality of life.

Mindful meditation builds an inner strength which equips you with the power to deal with future stresses so they have less of an impact on the body. In order to deal with stress, you need to understand how the brain works.

Stage 1 – The Mind In Normal Mode 

When the mind is in its normal mode, it processes many types of data, all of which do not cause stress in of itself. Ideas bounce around the mind with speed and accuracy but in order to focus on a specific duty the mind needs to close out various forms of stimuli which constantly bombard the brain.

If the brain is to be successful in resolving the many problems that arise during the day, it must move from a previous thought directly to the new thought leaving the past thought in limbo. You have very little control over the way you behave and think during this type of situation.

The mind is built to handle life’s challenges but when it is bombarded during stressful situations, not only is your physical well-being in peril but your emotional state then follow suite and the body over compensates for the added stress. Over time, these thoughts put pressure on our mind and the body can break down from  chronic stress.

Stage 2: Concentration

Concentration is the ability to direct your thinking in whatever direction you intend it to go. For some people, concentration is a losing battle. They fall prey to distractions and end up back in the normal state of mind. A wandering mind needs a way to focus. Procrastination is a problem that hurts the mind’s ability to concentrate. Psychologist Tim Pychyl of Carleton University in Canada, says procrastination is mostly an emotional problem – a psychological coping mechanism that kicks in during times of stress.

Your goal is to concentrate on one thing or object. Improving your concentration is a skill that can be learned. If you are consistently being pulled away there are ways to quiet the mind. This is where mindful meditation comes into play.

Stage 3: Meditation

For thousands of years, Eastern philosophy has learned how to use mindful meditation to quiet the mind and avoid stress. Shamash Alidina, the author of “The Mindful Way Through Stress” has outlined 9 ways that mindful meditation can help reduce stress.

Mindful meditation or “present-focused awareness” has been made famous by Thich Nhat Hanh, a Zen Buddhist monk from Vietnam. He has two quotes that helped me turn my life around when I needed to deal with an avalanche of stress and depression-like symptoms.

“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.”
“Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.”
Why is mindful meditation so important as a stress management tool?
  1. Mindful meditation allows you to become more aware of your thoughts so you can take a step back and not immediately react to the situation. That pregnant pause gives your mind time to come up with a solution to your situation.
  2. You become aware of the needs of your body and can take appropriate action when needed.
  3. With better focus, you are more efficient in your work as well as your creative mind.
  4. You become more compassionate and caring towards yourself and others thereby allowing love to soothe your response to stress.
  5. Mindfulness meditation allows you to look at thoughts for what they are, just thoughts, not the real you.

How To Use Guided Meditations As Personal Stress Reliever

Guided meditations help you clear away the overload of stress from everyday life and allows you to keep your emotions in tact. By using guided imagery, the visualizations put you into a relaxed state. Each sense brings you closer to being  free from tension and anxiety. Most guided meditations use music and positive affirmations to bring inner peace to people overloaded with stress.

In guided meditation, it becomes far easier to achieve a therapeutic meditative state. Because most people have 50,000 thoughts everyday, this type of meditation helps keep the negative thoughts at bay while calming the spirit.

To relieve stress, you must find a quiet, comfortable and well-ventilated room for your journey of relaxation. Sit or lie down in a position for approximately 30 minutes or so. Keep you eyes closed and prepare yourself for a deep sense of relaxation. Your escape is in the here and now.

Breathing is most important to bring your mind into a relaxed state. Cycle your breathing and imagine you are in a safe place. It could be near the water or in a natural setting where the wind is blowing through your hair. The key here is to make it a positive experience.

Chaos is the enemy of meditation as meditation is not our normal state of being. Mindfulness needs you to see things outside of the chaos by distancing your mind from those things that bombard our minds.

You may be feeling angry if you cannot calm your mind but the best thing to reduce stress and anxiety is to breathe and allow the stress to pass.

According to Ram Dass, “Visualization during meditation is a useful tool to define drama, understand it and let it go. Choose a tangible object to represent your anxiety. Imagine picking it up, then putting it down. Before you can let drama go, you may need to first understand why you so desperately want to cling onto it. If you can’t understand it, let it go anyway. Drama tends to be a bad habit. To break habits, You need to address the habitual patterns that created the habit in the first place.”

Habits are what define whether we are able to use mindful meditation as a stress management tool. It is not whether you are successful or not but that you work at destressing yourself. Stress will never go away but you don’t have to let it rule your life.

Meditation is a beautiful type of prayer. When you combine prayer and meditation, it is a powerful way to cope with daily stress and anxiety. Without it, you will consistently be stuck trying to overcome stress instead of letting it pass.

Life is too short to let every piece of anxiety and stress get the best f you. Use mindfulness to break free from the pain of stress and start living a life filled with unconditional love, inner peace and true happiness.

You can find all this and more in my #1 Bestselling book on Amazon.com entitled, “Summoned To Love – A Spiritual Blueprint For Rediscovering Inner Peace, Unconditional Love And True Happiness.”

Summoned To Love

 

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Barry Ferguson

President at OuttaSite Marketing LLC
Barry Ferguson is an Amazon #1 Best-Selling Transformational Christian author, speaker, Life Coach, and teacher who has dedicated his life to helping individuals and authors become the person they've also wanted to be. As a devout Christian, he uses unconditional love as his main tool in inspiring and motivating his clients to achieve their special dreams.
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