Today's fast-paced lifestyle promotes stress in all areas of our lives. At work, home and play we are pushed to do more in shorter periods of time. Stress impacts both our physical and emotional health and well being. The constant tension created by stress can age us more quickly and wear down the immune system that protects our immunity to disease. Many high stress work environments are reporting increased incidents of heart attacks on the job. You can do something to reduce stress once and for all. One proven and easy way to reduce stress is with guided or visualization meditations.
Although meditation has been associated with monks sitting up in a mountain retreat, it is a full proof method to combating stress and to creating a balanced lifestyle for those of us engaged in a fast-paced world. For beginners, guided or visualization meditation (two ways to describe the same technique) is the place to start. Guided and visualization meditations are relaxing scenarios with calming music in the background. The person on the CD gently instructs you to visualize, imagine, or to think about the stress reducing scenario that the guide is sharing with you. The scenario is usually something simple and easy to relate to such as walking through the woods or sitting on a secluded beach.
There have been several medical studies that confirm meditation as a viable way to treat stress related conditions. Research studies have shown that meditation has helped to lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar in diabetics, and lower anxiety levels. Dr. Oz, who appears frequently on Oprah, recently recommended meditation as the number one method for reducing stress. Dr. Dean Ornish, a heart specialist, prescribes daily meditation for all of his heart patients. Studies have also shown that those who practice meditation on a regular basis visit the doctors less often than their non meditating counterparts. There are many benefits from meditation:
1. Increases energy levels.
2. Deep conscious relaxation.
3. Improved concentration.
4. Strengthens the immune system.
5. Slows the aging process.
6. Increases creativity.
7. Awakens the intuition.
8. Helps to release addictions.
9. Reduces stress.
10. Increases intelligence.
The benefits to beginning a meditation practice go beyond the 20 minutes of time that you put into practicing. When you deeply relax into a state of calm and tranquility, it provides your body a mini-vacation. It is as if you peel off layers of tension and stress and find the real you that exist outside this stress filled battle zone. Meditation sessions reset your internal computer back to normal and balanced. Besides the feeling of peace and relaxation, your energy and vitality increase, the brain fog clears and you are able to concentrate better.
Guided meditation provides a deeper conscious relaxation. When you sleep you may not necessarily feel rested or energized. When you meditate your entire body and mind relaxes. You are not asleep. You are just not engaged in the outer world stimuli. The techniques that you are incorporating tell the body to relax and the body responds.
All that is required of the listener is that they turn off their phones and find a quiet place to sit to listen to the guided CD for about 15-25 minutes. The investment is minimal - the purchase of a guided meditation CD and your dedication to practicing once a day.
When you begin your meditation practice, choose a quiet place and ask others that live with you not to interrupt your meditation. Pick a time of the day that is good for you to meditate. Wear loose and comfortable clothing. Allow a few moments at the end of the meditations to just sit and reflect before entering back into your busy day. This allows the deep relaxation feeling a chance to integrate into all levels of your being.
You have a choice to continue to be stressed or to immediately reduce your stress levels with guided meditation or to use prescription drugs that stress the body in a number of other ways. Meditation can be practiced by anyone at just about anywhere at any time. Put an end to that constant feeling of overwhelm get meditating today!
Dawn Fleming, meditation teacher, holistic health educator and practitioner with over 19 years experience in the field. She is the author of several holistic health books and has produced several guided meditation CDs. Visit her website at http://www.energytransformations.org
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