Stress is not always bad. In fact, it can drive a person to perform better at work or in school. Or it can help someone respond to a life-threatening situation through what is called the “fight or flight” reaction.
However, stress can affect the health if it becomes chronic or constant. Chronic stress can impair various systems in the body including digestion, immunity, hormonal balance and reproduction, among others. People who suffer from chronic stress are prone to digestive ailments, headaches, irritability and anxiety. They are also at an increased risk of viral infections such as the common cold and flu.
If not resolved or managed properly, chronic stress may possibly lead to more serious conditions, which include high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and depression. This is why, it is very important to manage stress effectively especially in today’s society, where stress levels are high and everyone’s always in a rush to get things done.
Before you succumb to the harmful effects of stress, there are various healthy ways to cope with it. One of these is with meditation.
Meditation is one of the simplest and least expensive ways to reduce stress. This practice, which dates back to thousands of years ago, is considered a type of complementary medicine. It seeks to restore the mind and body connection by producing a deep state of tranquillity and relaxation.
During this process, you’re going to have to eliminate all the thoughts that are crowding your mind and preventing you from relaxing. You will need to focus your attention on something that gives you a sense of peace and calm.
There are various types of meditation, which include:
- Visualization or guided imagery – A type of meditation that requires visualizing images of things, places or situations that make you feel relaxed.
- Mantra meditation – In this method, you will have to repeat a phrase or word that will enable you to focus and get rid of jumbled thoughts in your mind.
- Yoga – Yoga is a practice that combines stretching exercises and postures with meditation and deep breathing.
- Mindfulness meditation – This one entails the use of one’s conscious awareness for understanding emotions and thoughts, as well as external situations and circumstances.
All these types of meditation can benefit the mind and body in more ways than one. Some of meditation’s top benefits are the following:
- Understanding more deeply the cause of stress
- Gaining a positive perspective on stressors
- Reducing or eliminating negative emotions that feed stress
- Increasing awareness of oneself and one’s surroundings
These benefits are not without scientific proof. Extensive research has been done to verify the efficacy of meditation in stress reduction and management.
In a 2014 study conducted in Maryland, USA, researchers analyzed the results of 47 clinical trials involving more than 3,500 participants. Findings show that meditation indeed works in reducing anxiety, depression and pain. It also works moderately in improving psychological stress.
Don’t let stress affect your health and life. Use meditation and other effective stress reduction techniques such as massage, exercise and deep breathing to tone down stress levels before it takes a toll on your wellbeing