Meditation & Stress Management
According to Psychology Today, “Stress is simply a reaction to a stimulus that disturbs our physical or mental equilibrium. In other words, it is an omnipresent part of life. A stressful event can trigger the “fight-or-flight” response, causing hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol to surge through the body. A little bit of stress, known as “acute stress,” can be exciting—it keeps us active and alert. But long-term, or “chronic stress,” can have detrimental effects on health.”
Here are a few examples: It is Monday morning you are getting ready to go t work and you are also getting your child ready to drop him off at school. Suddenly, right after breakfast, he gets sick and starts to vomit. Now you are faced with an unexpected situation that requires you to change your plans causing you some disruptions. If the same scenario had happened on your day off work, your reaction would have been different.
Ever notice that when you are in a hurry, everyone else is moving really slowwww! They could be moving exactly at the same speed when you have plenty of time and it would look normal to you. It is amazing how our brain will perceive stimuli and presents them to our conscious mind in a total different way depending on our current state of being.
Stress has an effect on anything that goes on in our bodies and minds. Briefly, it affects the balanced normal work of our autonomic nervous system. Blood pressure, heart and breathing rates, body temperature, digestion and metabolism, which of course will affect our weight, the balance of water and electrolytes, the production of body fluids (saliva, sweat, and tears) and sexual response. As you can see ALL bodily functions!
The autonomic or unconscious nervous system is divided into two parts:
Sympathetic – fight-or-flight, great for emergencies!
Parasympathetic – taking care of normal, non-emergency, ordinary situations
Since it is almost impossible to live a stress-free life, the logical question would be: What can be done to deal with stress?
Sometimes this is easier said than done! We all have a certain threshold or limitations and sometimes we are faced with situations that push us “over the limit” to the point that we start to feel the ill effect of stress physically as well as mentally.
Luckily, we have several tools that we can utilize to help us manage the stress.
Exercise – this can be as easy as walking for 15-20 minutes to going to the gym and get a good work out or anything else that you personally find as a de-stressor.
Personally, I always enjoy a good walk in nature as well as yoga and martial arts, which help me quiet my busy mind and get more into the present. This leads me to another of my favorite exercises, maybe not as physical but definitively very efficient in managing stress – meditation.
In the past decade or so, we have seen many shows, documentaries and articles that refer to mindful meditation. Fortunately, this has become so popular that a single “google search” on this subject produced more than 43 million hits! One reason that this is so popular, in my opinion, is that it can be practiced at anytime, anywhere without any specific equipment and IT WORKS!
You don’t have to be an Eastern guru or a Buddhist monk to practice it and you don’t have to be in a crossed-legged sitting position (lotus position) staring at your navel. In fact being “mindful” is really being in the “present” in the “now” slowing down the “monkey mind” (reference given to the busy mind that jumps around from thought to thought) that influences us with as many as 60,000 thoughts per day according to the National Science Foundation.
Practicing meditation has shown benefits from schoolchildren to corporate CEO’s, athletes and anyone else that has practiced it. It can be challenging at first but as with any other exercises, the more you do it the better you get at it.
This article is Part 5 of 7 in a series explaining the various sub-categories within Naturopathy – more articles to come soon! In the meantime, you can review previously published articles Part 1 of 7, Part 2 of 7, Part 3 of 7., and Part 4 of 7 Stay tuned to read more about the individual methodologies behind this safe, effective, natural approach to managing your everyday health!
Want to learn more? Visit my website at www.naturale-solutions.com to take charge of your personal health today!