Article by Laurie Desjardins
Stress is bad for your mental health; there’s no doubt about that. But a recent study conducted by researchers at Georgetown University found that it can be equally bad for your weight. The study showed that mice under chronic stress and on a junk-food diet gained twice the weight expected.
Many people face chronic stress every day: at work, at home, at school, you name it. And unfortunately, that overwhelming stress could be having a huge effect on their physical health. If stress and diet are contributing to unhealthy weight gain, then it’s important to combat the problem at its source.
Daily stress, daily meditation
One of the best ways to reduce stress is through meditation. The purpose of meditation is to calm the mind and quell worries and anxiety, so by making it a daily habit, you can gradually bring that calm to every area of your life. The only thing meditation requires is that you spend 10 to 20 minutes a day on it, either by doing a breathing meditation or using a meditation tool to calm and focus your thoughts.
This kind of meditation, called mindfulness meditation, keeps you grounded in the present, where you can be completely aware of your current thoughts and actions without worrying about the past or future. Previous research has suggested that it’s beneficial not just for stress, but even for depression and chronic pain.
A simple breathing meditation is good for everyday purposes. Find a place that is quiet and holds special meaning for you, either outside or inside, wherever you’re most comfortable. Remove any distractions, like alarms and cell phones, and just sit and focus on breathing deeply and steadily.
Don’t think about anything else but your breath, how you take in a fresh new one that rejuvenates you, and expelling the old air when you’ve used it up. Your mind may jump around to other paths at first, but if you keep focused on your breathing, eventually it will settle peacefully into the stillnes s.
Come back from your meditation slowly, first by recognizing the smells and sounds of the area around you, and then by gently rotating your fingers, wrists and neck. Whatever meditation you do, walk away with a new sense of calm and serenity.
Meditating for a healthier life
Nothing will take the place of proper diet and exercise for basic health. But if chronic stress is a part of your life, chances are daily meditation could help both your mental and physical health. The more often you meditate, the easier it will be to find that peace in your daily life. Take some time to try it and see if you notice the difference.
About the Author
Laurie Desjardins is a meditation expert and creator of the Zen Stick meditation tool. She is dedicated helping people find peace and tranquility in their personal environment, and also strive to protect the world’s natural resources. To reduce stress in your own life, visit SleepingTiger.org for meditation tips, tools and tutorials.
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