Meditation has been taught and practised for thousands of years, and today is more accepted as a way to promote calm. Then, there are the proven emotional, mental, physical, biological and functional benefits. Furthermore, I find the best ideas and inspiration come from taking time and space to clear my mind. So, why is it that many put relaxation so low on their to-do list?
Many people view taking time out, or time to relax, as a luxury or consider doing so would be selfish. However, this train of thought has been proven to be counterproductive to maintaining optimal levels of wellbeing, energy and happiness needed to meet all the demands of the day.
The positive impact of rest, recovery time and quality sleep benefit every area of daily life. Your body requires relaxation, rest and sleep much in the same way that it regulates the need for eating, drinking and breathing.
Extensive research has consistently shown that proper relaxation, rest and sleep plays a vital role in promoting physical health, longevity and emotional wellbeing.
For example, one study concluded that meditation and related methods for the enhancement of relaxation are cost-effective ways to improve health and quality of life.
There is a growing body of evidence supporting the medical benefits of meditation. Another example, a research studyshowed that after just eight weeks of daily ‘time out’ participants had stronger immune systems and registered higher activation in parts of the brain associated with positive mood.
I have been teaching meditation for 20 years, and I regularly witness and hear stories about chronic pain, depression, anxiety, and stress-related disorders and illness disappear or decrease.
Relaxation is about letting go of tension and can be done in several ways. An effortless and quick way to release stress and refocus is deep breathing techniques; being still and ‘watching your breath’ as you inhale and exhale. A structured practise would be a guided meditation, and natural practise could be taking a moment in your every day to stop, breath, centre and calm. Surprisingly the natural meditative and relaxation habits which you incorporate in your everyday produce valuable benefits.
No matter how busy you are, there is always time for meditation, and there is always time to relax.
Through a regular mindful meditation practice, the mind becomes focused, calm and relaxed. Eventually, awareness is clearer, and you can maintain this state for more extended periods.
Did you know that tension in the body affects the tension in your mind? Did you also know that constant tension in your muscles could lower your immune system and make recovery time from illness longer? Therefore, progressive muscle relaxation, an exercise that relaxes your mind and body, is vital to clear tension and improve immunity.
Quick mindful tip- S.T.O.P
S TOP AND BECOME PRESENT
T AKE A BREATH & RELAX
O BSERVE WHAT YOU ARE FEELING AND THINKING
P ROCEED AND PARTICIPATE IN WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT
Buddhists, Yogis and Ayurveda doctors have said for centuries that meditation improves health and wellbeing. Scientists are discovering the benefits of meditation. Several clinical studies document specific ways that meditating may promote health, sharpen mental focus and improve emotional stability. Numerous studies report that the brain of someone who meditates may be physically different from one who doesn’t.
Findings to date offer compelling confirmation to the millions who meditate, and those who are considering beginning, take time out to relax, centre, recover and connect.
How could you begin to incorporate meditation into your weekly activities?
Kirsty facilitates a weekly relaxation and meditation group in North Lakes, Queensland. Please contact us if you would like to find out more.