Why Meditation Is The Best Tool For Stress Management
In the day and age we live in, stress is imminent. The demands of everyday life — balancing work, life and family — paired with the occasional curveball, can quickly send us over the edge. And if you’re not aware, stress isn’t just a mental thing. Chronic stress can make you physically sick too.
Have you ever noticed how some people are able to handle stress a lot better than others? You might think they are more resilient — and they might be — but perhaps they have ‘other’ ways of coping with everyday stresses.
Meditation is believed to be one of the best stress management techniques available to us and has gained much popularity in society in the last decade. More and more people are turning to this age-old practice to relieve stress as well as a host of other benefits.
Using Meditation to Alleviate Stress
You might be under the impression that meditation goes hand in hand with specific spiritual practices but it doesn’t have to. There are several different ways people use meditation for stress-relief:
- You can use it to calm down quickly and to help reverse the stress response in your body.
- You can be incorporated into your daily routine to help build stress resilience.
- You can use it when you’re thrown off by emotional stress to get centred.
Our bodies react to stress automatically to prepare us to fight or run away. This physical response is helpful in some instances of severe danger but when your body is subjected to this response for a prolonged period, it can cause physical damage and make you sick.
Meditation affects your body in the exact opposite way. Where stress triggers your fight/flight mode, meditation triggers your relaxation response. It has the power to restore the body to a more relaxed and calm state which helps promote recovery and prevents new damage from stress.
How Trees Help Us Stress Less And Feel More Restored
I love trees and spending time surrounded by these quiet giants is one of my favourite pass times. However, not everyone feels the same way, but perhaps they should. There’s just something special about being surrounded by trees — it leads to better health, more creativity and a feeling of wellbeing.
After all, trees are essential in our lives. The most obvious reason for this is that they produce the oxygen we breathe and extract the carbon dioxide to protect the atmosphere. But, it doesn’t stop there. Trees offer a whole range of other benefits too.
Being around trees and nature can help to decrease stress and anxiety. The psychological advantages of surrounding yourself with trees are significant and are expected to play a vital role in the future of promoting mental health. It is believed that ‘forest bathing’ — deliberately spending time in the forest — can reduce the stress of urban living.
No doubt being surrounded by trees affects our brains. According to a recent study by nature.com, people who live near trees have better ‘amygdala integrity’ which means their brains can handle stress better.
Trees also improve our physical health. Studies have shown that spending small amounts of time in the woods seems to improve our immune systems. A study by NCBI, suggests that trees might enhance our immunity due to specific aromatic compounds they release.
Similar to meditation, the benefits of being surrounded or close to trees are endless. If you’re lucky enough to have trees in your backyard, make sure you do them justice by keeping them in great shape. For the best results, hire a reputable contractor to head your tree felling Pretoria.
Trees are beneficial to us as human beings. Interacting with trees daily doesn’t just mental health, but physical health too. What are you waiting for? Get outside!
Common Distractions During Meditation And How To Eliminate Them
Distractions are a part of mindfulness meditation whether internal or external. If you find yourself frustrated and annoyed with the distraction, don’t give up on meditation just yet. Everyone finds this challenging at first.
The fact that you get frustrated can be a mind pattern and if you notice it, instead of reacting to it, the frustration may change the pattern gradually. It is a very common experience to be distracted during meditation and also part of the learning process. Expect some frustration and learn to cope with it instead of trying to run away from it.
External distractions can range from children running around to pets wanting attention and technology to household issues such as plumbing problems. When you sit down to meditate, make sure you find a quiet place away from these distractions. Unless of course, you hear running water while all taps are closed. This would indicate a leak of some sort in which case you should hire a contractor for water leak detection – Pretoria (Gauteng).
Once you’ve fixed household issues or established that it isn’t that serious, keep in mind that distractions will always be there. If you can’t ignore the sounds, let them become a part of your meditation practice.
As for internal distractions, any thoughts that arise, watch them like clouds that move across the sky. Welcome these thoughts and try to visualise them separate from you and notice how you feel.
Always be patient with yourself. Keep in mind that thinking is a natural habit of the mind. Instead, label each thought as ‘planning’ or ‘thinking’ then gently guide your focus back to your breathing.
Distractions will come and go. If you learn to relax, you’ll learn to accept the tension you’re experiencing currently rather than fighting with it.