Overview of meditation for stress management – Times of India

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Overview of meditation for stress management

Overview of meditation for stress management (Thinkstock photos/Getty Images)

What is meditation?
Meditation is any form of a family of practices in which practitioners train their minds or self-induce a mode of consciousness to realize some benefits. It is generally an inwardly oriented, personal practice, which individuals can do by themselves. Prayer beads or other ritual objects may be used during meditation. Mindfulness may involve invoking or cultivating a feeling or internal state, such as compassion, or attending to a specific focal point. This is one of the most recommended solutions for stress busting. The effects of meditation on the body are opposite to what stress has, it restores the body to a calm state, helping it to repair itself, and preventing new damage due to the physical effects of stress.

Why choose meditation?
Research has shown, when practicing meditation, the heart rate and breathing slow down, the blood pressure normalizes, the oxygen used becomes more efficient, and stress-related perspiration reduces. The adrenal glands produce less cortisol, and it is also known to improve your immune function. Your mind clears and your creativity increases. People who meditate regularly find it easier to give up habits like smoking, drinking and drug abuse. Mindfulness research is still fairly new, but promising.

How does it work?
There are various methods and forms of meditating, but the most sought after and effective method involves sitting in a relaxed position and clearing your mind. Focusing on something or on your own breathing even chanting along helps. It’s necessary to have at least 5 to 20 distraction-free minutes to spend. Meditating for longer sessions bring greater benefits, but sometimes starting slowly can help you maintain the practice in the long term It’s helpful to meditate in silence and privacy, but as you get more experienced at it, they don’t remain mandates. Many practitioners of meditation attach a spiritual component to it, but it can also be a secular exercise.

Meditation versus other stress management methods
Medications and herbal therapies are available for the management of stress, but unlike them meditation has no potential side effects. It even works very well for people with physical limitations that restrict them from participating in strenuous physical exercise for stress relief. No special equipment is required and it is absolutely free. However, it does take discipline and commitment, so some people may find it more difficult to maintain as a habit without the help of a partner or group for added motivation. Also, some people may find it more difficult to free their minds of the thoughts of the day, and thus find it more difficult than methods like blogging or methods that in themselves are distracting, like physical exercise. However, the time and effort it takes to learn and practice is well worth it in terms of the benefits it provides.

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