We live in a fast-paced world. Between career-related obligations and personal responsibilities, it seems there is never any time left for anything other than a few short hours of sleep before one must get up and get moving once again. The concept of finding a quiet place, both literally and figuratively, seems foreign and unreachable; the prospect of doing so even less likely. Health experts have been vocal about the importance of relaxation. In that case, how is one supposed to reconcile the need for ease with the reality of a society which demands constant movement while leaving little room for anything else?
Do you remember the movie trope where someone claims to be ‘zen’ because they sit cross-legged in an empty room or garden, then close their eyes and utter the word ‘om’ for a while? It may look odd and sound funny, but it portrays the basics of meditation, if somewhat exaggerated. You shouldn’t dismiss it. They may dramatise the actions for effect, but the concept is accurate. The characters portrayed in those scenes are meditating. Meditation, if done correctly, can have far-reaching benefits.
Meditation is an exercise where people harness their attention and awareness before training it to achieve mental clarity and emotional stability. Such results can be a very effective method of finding some relaxation. Meditation does not require you to empty your mind and shut off your feelings; instead, its purpose is to help you gain a better perspective by learning how to acknowledge your thoughts without fear of judgement or reprisal.
Why Should You Meditate for Relaxation?
Go back to the fast-paced world mentioned above. Today’s norms dictate that there is constantly a new objective to be tackled, deadlines to be met, and things to discover. The goal post is always moving, and your well-being pays the price. People are reporting higher stress levels both personally and professionally. In turn, their anxiety levels are spiking. These scenarios create a problem of ill-health that affects the standard of living and impacts their work. The outcome is a cycle of misery that must be arrested before more harm is done.
One of the best ways to reduce levels of stress is through meditation for relaxation. When you meditate, you activate a part of the body known as the parasympathetic nervous system. It is responsible for the body’s rest response when you are relaxed. The system acts as a counter to the sympathetic nervous system, which activates when stressed, triggering the ‘fight or flight ’ response. Those stress hormones can only be halted when you can stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system, which in turn lowers your heart rate and brings forth a sense of calm.
Besides stress relief, meditation also lowers your blood pressure and boosts your mental resilience against stress and anxiety. You will be better able to find joy and happiness around you.
How Do You Meditate?
First, find a place to get comfortable where you are least likely to be interrupted. You don’t have to adopt the stance mentioned in the scenario above; you can sit on your favourite chair or even lie down in the shade outside. Your comfort, relaxation and focus are the critical factors. As soon as you are settled, you should close your eyes. Now focus on taking deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. Next, find a specific thought, object or activity on which to focus. Use it to drown everything else out, even when your mind begins to wander. Sustain this activity for about twenty minutes before you open your eyes while taking slow, deep breaths. You should now feel calmer and more relaxed.
Attempt to set some time aside each day for meditation. Making it a habit helps reduce your stress levels. The more you meditate, the more likely you are to develop enough skill to calm yourself on command.
Remember, meditation is a practice, not a one-time activity. To get the benefits you are searching for, you must keep at it by making it part of your daily routine. Moreover, give yourself some time to learn and get better, but do not strive for perfection. With meditation, the journey counts more than the destination.