Meditation originally was a spiritual practice, and to many people around the world, it still is. However, modern trends are resulting in looking at what is old and making it new, and meditation is a great example. Mindfulness, a style of mediation that removes the spiritual trappings, has proven scientifically to help handle several health issues, including chronic stress. Here is how it all comes together and how you can put it to work for you.
What Chronic Stress Can Do
There’s a difference between stress and chronic stress. Stress is a perfectly natural body reaction to potentially dangerous stimuli. It dates back to antiquity as our time as prey animals for other species. When under attack, the human stress response gives us a boost of energy to escape or fight off the outside threat. With chronic stress, though, your body is constantly giving a fight-or-flight response to things that don’t need it. A bad test score or trouble at work is irritating but won’t threaten your life. Over time, chronic stress can be a major issue, as it affects other bodily systems. For example, the constant slowing and speeding up of digestion are bad for your digestive tract. Difficulty sleeping affects your mood.
Certain groups may have alternative options, like a veteran’s medical center in Los Angeles for former service members. These services are essential, and mindfulness won’t be a replacement for proper medical care. What it does do is allow people a portable, accessible way to handle their stress on a daily basis, while promoting good health habits. For many people who don’t focus or invest much in their help, this can be an invaluable benefit.
The Art of Mindfulness
How do you get started on mindfulness? It’s very simple. All you need to do is find a quiet space in your home or even your workplace if possible. Sit down comfortably, and begin deep breathing. There are many tutorials online to show you how to do proper deep breathing. After this, slowly begin to concentrate exclusively on the exact moment you are in. Don’t think about your grocery list or what to watch on TV tonight, just the current moment. Push out other thoughts. After this, maintain that state of mind for a few minutes before going back to your day. That’s it!
How does it help? Science is still figuring out the exact mechanisms, but studies show that people who regularly practice meditation have better times with several markers of chronic stress, including mood swings, irritable bowel syndrome, and disrupted sleep. With a low cost of a few minutes of your time each day, it’s well worth it to see if mindfulness is your stress solution.