Today, Thursday, January 17, 2019

Releasing Stress through Meditation and Visualization

When stress attacks us, it is typical for the body to have either a "fight or flight" response. But, if we suffer chronic agitation, and begin to
experience anxiety from stress, then every part of our body can be damaged. Stress will affect us physically, mentally, emotionally, and every other way. After all, we cannot compartmentalize ourselves.

Practicing meditation can have a positive effect on all aspects of the stress which damages our body, and effectively restore a state of peacefulness and tranquility. This will repair any existing damage and prevent any new stress related damage from occurring.  Even in the midst of our busy lives, it's easy to find ways to do simple meditations to reduce everyday stress.

Meditation is meant to be practiced, not to eliminate the conflict, stress, and anxiety that is inherently part of life , but to offer peace and tranquility in the midst of all this stress and anxiety.

Meditation Benefits
Some of the benefits that occur with practiced meditation are:

    1.) Breathing and heart rate will slow down.
         This will occur because you'll begin to feel more peaceful and relaxed.

    2.) Perspiration will decrease.

    3.) Blood pressure will effectively normalize.
        Blood pressure can drop about 20 points due to the release of stress and anxiety. 

    4.) Production of cortisol (made by the adrenal glands) will lessen.
         This will begin to slow the aging process of the mind.

    5.) Your mind will be clearer.
         Your creativity will increase as you can think and imagine more clearly.

    6.) You'll begin to give up unhealthy habits.
         Less stress, or the effective management of it, may lead to unhealthy habits becoming unnecessary.

    7.) You may even get in touch with that "Higher Power."
Meditation allows reflection on one's place in the Universe.

Meditative Methods:
So, how does meditation and stress reduction work? Meditation generally involves relaxed sitting and methods to effectively clear your mind. Focusing on a single word, sound, or repeating chants is one such technique. Some people focus on repetitive sounds like "AUM"
; this, in Eastern Traditions, is considered the perfect sound for meditation. This is because the mouth, in speaking and repeating this word, opens and then closes in one single and perfectly effortless movement.
Others focus on their own breathing as they meditate.  Some focus on nothing at all and just enjoy the sounds of silence. Whatever the technique chosen, on should eliminate distractions.

People who are more practiced in meditating can successfully practice it anywhere. There are many people who also attach spiritual components when meditating. The type, use and effectiveness of these spiritual techniques are dependent upon the beliefs of the individuals using them.

Visualization Technique
Visualization techniques are useful for people who find it difficult to meditate on words or phrases. Some visualize a particular object, such as a painting, a photo, or a tranquil scene. Others visualize a particular color as they meditate, and they relate that color to the rhythm of their breathing. For example, as they breathe in, they breathe in blue. As they exhale the blue leaves their body through their feet, legs, torso, head, and finally through their lungs.

Visualization allows us to communicate with our subconscious as we mediate. What you visualize within you is entirely up to you and your imagination. After all, it is our imagination which creates the pictures in our minds.

Centering, A Simple Way to Start Meditating
Centering oneself is a simple way to start meditating. Though many trace the roots of Centering to the Desert Fathers of early Monasticism, it has become a popular meditative technique of the modern day Trappist monks due to individuals who have written extensively about it, such as Thomas Merton.

Centering is the result of the seeds of what has become known as contemplation. The actual practice of centering begins by focusing on a single "Sacred Word."  You let that "Sacred Word" be present as your symbol of coming into God's presence and your becoming open to God's divine action which is at the center of your being. You remove all thought, logic, and rationality. Whenever you become aware of anything such as the stress, anxiety, and conflict in your life, you simply return to your "Sacred Word" as your anchor to begin to center again.

Making Time for Meditation:
Plan on spending at least 20 minutes to a half hour meditating.  Consider incorporating a meditation routine after a long day of work. In addition to stress reduction, meditation can be used to eliminate bad habits and attitudes (e.g. smoking and eating to relax).

A creative individual can find many ways and many places to use meditation. Effective meditation reduces and may even eliminate the need to rely on costly medications, which often have harmful side effects. Meditation is natural, the benefits are abundant, and you can do it for free; anywhere and at any time.

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