Mar 12, 2010

Just A Suggestion....

Ever since I can remember...I've prided myself on my excellent memory, near perfect recall of facts figures and my endless mental warehousing of utterly useless trivia but somehow all of these accomplishments went sailing out the window  this last Wednesday.

I had a Dr.'s eleven thirty and it was a relatively important date for me so I went to bed earlier than usual the night before, woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed and after dropping off the children at school, came home and got ready for the appointment.

I left early so I could get there on time and was, as usual, ten minutes early. I walked up to the receptionist's window and when she asked how she may help me, I promptly answered that my appointment was at 11:30 with Kim. She shuffled through her papers, looked in a schedule book, rummaged through one of those wire paper bins full of loose papers and then turned and asked me to tell her again what time the appointment was...eleven thirty, I replied as I watched her turn her chair towards her computer, entering my name. The puzzled look on her face confused me for a minute until she turned her chair back in my direction and informed me my appointment was NEXT Wednesday!


Excess stress can manifest itself in a variety of emotional, behavioral, and even physical symptoms and the symptoms of stress vary enormously among different individuals. Common  physical symptoms often reported by those experiencing excess stress include sleep disturbances, muscle tension and  headache.

The process of learning to control stress is life-long and will not only lead to better health but a greater ability to cope with life's little irritations we may encounter in our daily lives. Some relaxation techniques such as meditation and deep breathing are extremely beneficial, in my opinion, meditation benefits are many and can bring about feelings of confidence and self control, increased concentration, better relationships and reduced stress levels as well as an increase in:

~Confidence and self control

~ Improved concentration

~Inner certainty

~ Ability to focus and work efficiently

~ Ability to let go of negative emotions such as anger

Meditating is actually easier than you may imagine, most of us have dabbled in meditation by participating in conscious relaxation. Start by paying attention to your breathing. The practical effort to focus completely on breathing  takes our minds away from the "mental clutter" and leads to a feeling of calm. With repeated effort, the goal of clearing your mind (to think of nothing)  does occur and the process of meditation takes on its own energy. The result is peace, serenity and calmness.

Meditation suggestions:

1.) Make time to meditate. Set aside enough time in your daily routine for meditating. The effects of meditation are most noticeable when you do it regularly and consistently rather than sporadically.

2.) Find or create a quiet, relaxing environment. It's especially important, when you're starting out, to avoid any obstacles to attention. Turn off any TV sets, phone(s) or other noisy appliances. If you play music, make sure it's calm, repetitive and gentle, so as not to break your concentration. Meditating outside can be good, as long as you don't sit near a busy roadway or another source of loud noise.

3.)  Sit on level ground. Sit on a cushion if the ground is uncomfortable. You don't have to twist your limbs into the lotus position or adopt any unusual postures. The important thing is to keep your back straight, as this will help with breathing later on. You can also meditate on a chair. Make sure your back is straight, whether you lean against the chair or sit free does not matter. Your feet should rest solidly on the ground. Any position in which you're relaxed but your back is straight is permissible, even lying down...but be careful that you're not so relaxed that you fall asleep. In warm weather, consider watching the clouds.

4.) Keep your eyes half-open without focusing on anything. If this is too distracting or difficult, close them or find something steady to focus on such as a small candle flame.

5.) Breathe deeply and slowly from your abdomen rather than your chest. You should feel your stomach rise and fall while your chest stays relatively still.

6.) Relax every muscle in your body. Don't rush this, as it takes time to fully relax. Do it bit by bit, starting at your toes, and working up to your head, until the tension melts away. 

*You may notice that your mind wants to wander, bouncing from thought to thought, making observations about other things. Gently bring your attention back to a single point until it rests there naturally. The goal is to allow the "chattering" in your mind to gradually fade away. Find an "anchor" to settle your mind.*

7.) Once you've trained your mind to focus on just one thing at a time, the next step is focus on nothing at all, essentially "clearing" your mind. This requires tremendous discipline but is the pinnacle of meditation. After focusing on a single point as described in the previous step, you can either cast it away, or observe it impartially and let it come and then go, without labeling it as "good" or "bad". Take the same approach to any thoughts which return to your mind until silence perseveres.


1 comment:

Sorrow said...

My first thought was, I am such a scatterbrain that I have to leave myself notes and set alarms with notes or else I get lost in my own meditation. I get so frustrated when the real world intrudes.
I guess I need to find the opposite of meditation.