MTS Health & Wellness Blogs
An excerpt from Dr. Deepak Chopra Lifestyle Articles
Welcome to MTS monthly Health & Wellness blog post series.
In this issue, we want to touch on a wellness & lifestyle hot topic that is on many people’s mind currently and that is – meditation.
How does meditation help us to handle the stress in the fast pace lifestyle that we all lead? From an excerpt taken from Dr. Deepak Chopra, we list some of the key reasons why you should start this practice today.
Any burning questions? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what’s on your mind – we might feature your topic next month!
How to manage your stress
The first step is to recognize that contrary to common misconceptions, stress isn’t a force beyond your control. It doesn’t exist outside of you in the environment or external situations; instead, stress is an internal response to a perceived threat or unmet need. It’s not the overdue payment, broken dishwasher, or fight with our spouse that causes stress—it’s your thoughts and the story you tell yourself about an event or circumstance that create the emotional upset, racing heart rate, shallow breathing, surging adrenalin, and other symptoms of the stress response.
Let’s look at some of the specific ways in which meditation can help you manage stress and cultivate greater health and well-being.
Meditation reverses the effects of the stress response
In meditation, you journey from activity to silence. You go beyond the noisy thoughts in the mind and enter a state of restful alertness. You’re in a state of deep rest, yet your mind is fully alert and awake. In this state of restful alertness, the body experiences many healing effects that are the opposite of the fight-or-flight response, including:
- Decreased heart rate
- Normalization of blood pressure
- Deeper breathing
- Reduced production of stress hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline
- Strengthened immunity
- More efficient oxygen use by the body
- Decreased inflammation in the body
Meditation promotes relaxation & restful sleep
Many of us live in a state of chronic sleep deprivation, which increases our stress levels and irritability. Scientific studies have found that meditation is an effective therapy for insomnia and can help you get the restful sleep that is vital to physical and emotional health.
When you meditate, your brain produces more brainwaves that promote deep relaxa
tion, including alpha and theta brainwaves, which are associated with deep relaxation. After a meditation practice, you carry this sense of greater calm with you into your activities, allowing you to stay more centered in the face of life’s inevitable upsets. Then when it’s time to bed, instead of ruminating about what happened earlier in the day, you are more likely to drift to sleep—and stay asleep.
Meditation improves focus & attention
Many people feel stressed because they’re trying to do more than one thing at a time. As neuroscientists have discovered, the conscious brain cannot multitask. If I’m speaking to you and checking my emails at the same time, I’m doing neither. Meditation helps you to train your brain to stay focused on the task at hand rather than letting our attention be pulled away by every passing thought and distraction. This one pointed attention makes you more effective and less stressed.
Meditation releases emotional turbulence
Through the practice of meditation, you develop what is known as “witnessing awareness,” which allows you to observe your thoughts and feelings and stories with greater objectivity and distance, rather than getting pulled into the melodrama of emotional reactivity. As you begin to witness your mental activity, without attempting to resist or change it, there is a spontaneous calming of the inner commotion. Over time, you will begin to notice that some space has been created around difficult emotional states. You will start to see that there is more to who you are than your moods or thoughts, and you may also observe that the sensations associated with the negative state dissolve altogether.
Meditation connects you to your true self
When you spend time in the inner silence of meditation, you begin to have a spontaneous experience of the attributes of your true self. Instead of getting stuck in constricted awareness, which limits your possibilities, you experience expanded or pure awareness, which is the field of all possibilities. This awakening to your true self is usually gradual. Little by little, you release the stress and limiting thought patterns that obscure your awareness of your essential nature, which is always there, shining brightly.
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