Like many busy executives, you most likely manage stress by eating healthy foods, exercising daily, and getting enough sleep at night. To further enhance your overall well-being, you may want to add meditation to your list of daily habits. Remaining under stress for long periods of time can result in headaches, anxiety, depression, heart disease, and other health concerns. Fortunately, one of the easiest ways to relieve stress is through meditation. You can get started in as little as 5 minutes a day and see results in a short amount of time.
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The Meditation Process
Practicing meditation involves breath work, quiet contemplation, or sustained focus on something, such as an image, phrase, or sound. Your goal is to feel calmer and more peaceful by releasing stress. Your meditation process may involve sitting quietly and focusing on your breath. When your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your breath. Perhaps your meditation process involves allowing your mind to focus inward as you stay alert to other thoughts or sensations. Or, your meditation may use an object of focus, such as the ringing of a bell, chanting, touching beads, or gazing at an image.
Meditation and Body Changes
Studies show that meditation affects the sympathetic nervous system, which increases breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure during times of stress. This may make physical changes to the brain, increasing the ability to process information, control your response to pain, and improve sleep. It also can support the immune system, slow the cognitive effects of aging, and reduce feelings of fear and anger. These changes can help you feel more balanced and connected. Meditation also can have spiritual effects such as increasing creativity, intuition, and connection with the inner self.
Beginning Meditation Practice
All you need to start practicing mediation is a quiet space and a few minutes each day. Start with 5 minutes of meditation at the same time every morning. Set aside a place where you can quickly enter a meditative state. You may want to include candles, fresh flowers, incense, or an object like a photo or crystal to focus on. Sit comfortably in a chair or on the floor. Close your eyes, or focus on the object you selected. Breathe slowly, deeply, and gently. Focus your mind inward or on the object. When your thoughts wander, steer them back. Breathe peace and quiet into your heart and mind. When you breathe out, imagine your breath as a tide carrying away your thoughts. You should start noticing changes in your mood and stress level relatively soon.
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