More and more people are recognising the benefits of Meditation and how it can help lower stress levels and improve our quality of life.
In today’s society, life has been a constant roller coaster of being on the go all the time. Demands of work, bringing up children, caring for others, the internet and social media, with the constant list of things to do - do you allow or schedule time to just be calm? To allow the body to rest and rejuvenate? When the mind is in constant thought and activity, the nervous system is also in constant activity. The adrenals are constantly secreting adrenalin. The muscles hold onto that constant tension, the digestive system may be weak or cause discomfort. The effects of long term stress are well known but often are not recognised until the symptoms are debilitating.
The Effects of Stress and our Current Crisis
When things become too much for us even the smallest things cause upset. Imagine your stress in a bucket - in goes life's big stresses such as house moves, change in your nearest relationships, financial worries, caring for family etc. When that bucket becomes full our ability to cope with even the smallest amount of stress is greatly impaired. Our nervous system can take anything from 6 months to five years to fully recover from past stress, it is worth keeping this in mind with the current corona crisis and avoid putting unnecessary pressure on ourselves. Listen to your body, when you need to rest do that, when you fancy a walk do that, the kitchen floor can wait. You do not need to have achieved something in this time, we are all going through a difficult period in our lives so do not expect to carry on as usual. Do have a look at our crisis blog for more information.
So as well as lowering the stress levels meditation can also:
Reduce anxiety and worry
May reduce blood pressure
Slows the aging process
Strengthens the immune system
Increases feelings of happiness
Even the NHS is recognising the benefits of Meditation for stress, depression and mental health conditions. Meditation has also been recommended for the over worked doctors and nurses.
When meditating we begin to calm our nervous systems and slow our thoughts with the breath. Breathing experts say that 9 out of 10 people do not breathe properly. The lungs are capable of holding 6 litres of air; a normal breath is around 500ml. Unless we take the time to breathe in deeply the air at the bottom of our lungs maybe stale and stagnant. Physical exercise helps with ensuring we breathe deeply. Research documenting the beneficial effects of breathing exercises on cardio-vascular health has been carried out in America.
Put your hands on your chest and your stomach – notice how you are breathing. Is it shallow? From the upper chest?
Breathe through your nose to the bottom of your abdomen, fill your tummy with air as if it is a balloon, breathe out very slowly through your mouth. Continue for a few minutes. This technique can be used on its own or as part of a longer meditation practice.
This breathing exercise was scientifically proven to calm the nervous system through the Vagus nerve in July 2019 and similar varieties have been used for 1000s of years.
Listen here on Youtube for our recording of the breathing technique to calm the nervous system. (3.50secs).
Click here for printable pdf information sheet - Calming your Nervous System.
There are many forms of Meditation. At Seale Natural Health we hold a meditation evening every other Wednesday and cover many aspects of meditation including Silent Meditation, Visualisation, Mindfulness, Breathwork, Chakra work and more. Please check our Events page or Farnham Meditation Facebook page for dates after the lockdown is over.
Regular meditation needn’t be a chore. Five minutes here and there of quietly breathing will make all the difference. Walking quietly in Nature is a form of moving meditation. Even while washing up, listening to the birds, focusing on your breath, is a form of Mindfulness Meditation. Meditating with other people can help ensure you get some meditation into your routine and benefit from the company of others. When meditation at home remember anything takes around a month to become a habit in your new routine.
Maxine Crinall BTPA BTAA ITEC MFHT
Owner Seale Natural Health