In this fast-paced, chaos-driven culture, it’s easy to underestimate the power of the mind. We’ve forgotten that our mind is a paradoxically powerful organ that uses itself to understand itself. Daily chronic stress can wear down your mental and physical health, affect your sleep, exacerbate chronic pain conditions, and even put you at risk for infections. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed a lot, and especially if you find that you are simply not feeling healthy because of stress, then meditation is a good place to start.
I fully realize that the audience reading this blog is largely made up from those suffering bankrupted stress coping savings accounts, adrenal fatigue, both associated with fibromyalgia. And I know having fibromyalgia can drain every ounce of hope and totally control not only your physical health, but mental health as well. Because of this, gaining some control over self -sabotaging thoughts is vital for helping you overcome the life draining symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Most people say things like “I don’t have time or patience for meditation,” and this is simply because most people don’t understand what it actually is and how to do it.
I have 3 children, a demanding practice, write blogs, articles for peer review journals, lecture to doctors, give weekly teleconferences, write books, exercise daily, and I still find time, no MAKE time to meditate on a daily basis. I make sure I get my hour of power in every morning, usually rising at 5:00 am, to make sure I can fit in my “quite time.”
Anyone can do meditation.
Meditation is not about “stopping” the mind. It’s about controlling it and changing the way you think and process things.
This is probably the most inexpensive form of treatment you can do. In fact, it’s free unless you choose to invest in aromatherapy oils, incense, candles, and other meditation paraphernalia. Meditation can be practiced wherever and whenever you want. You don’t have to set aside an hour to sit in the lotus position in a Zen garden. You can meditate just by breathing, walking, standing still, riding a bus, or even while in a waiting room for an appointment.
Meditation has been used for thousands of years, initially meant as a tool for deeper understanding of the mystical aspects of life; however, it’s now used in this culture as a potent form of stress reduction, relaxation, and learning positive thinking skills that will help your overall well-being. It’s a type of mind-body therapy that helps you organize your jumbled thoughts that are likely causing your stress. It’s much easier to see solutions when the issues are dealt with calmly, in a relaxed state.
Benefits don’t end when your meditation session ends, because the techniques learned can be used throughout the entire day, which limits the level of stress and keeps your body healthy, or allows it to heal faster.
Emotionally and mentally speaking, meditation will help you:
- Focus on the present and current problems, while helping you see a different perspective
- Reduce negative feelings and thoughts
- Build skills to help you better manage stress
- Improve and increase self-awareness
You may think that these things don’t really matter much, but they actually do. You are what you think. If you let your mind run free, it’s like a wild teenager in a state of rebellion. It’s going to go after the most intense high it can get, which is usually some form of excessive chemical release caused by stress and drama. Meditation is the discipline needed to rein in the wild child.
Furthermore, illnesses that are worsened by stress can greatly improve with the daily practice of meditation. A growing list of studies have shown the benefits of meditation on both the mind and body, especially in those with chronic diseases. Further research needs to be done, but the findings so far have shown that meditation may help with the following conditions:
- Anxiety and depression
- Cancer, especially for those undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy
- High blood pressure
- Acute and chronic pain conditions
- Heart disease
- Insomnia or other sleep disorders
Generally speaking, meditation is based on deep breathing that literally work as a “gentle cleaner” to the mind and body. When you breathe in and fill your lungs completely and then exhale everything you have, your muscles relax and you feel calmed.
There are several types of meditation. It’s important to choose the one(s) that best fit your needs.
Let’s take a look at a few:
- Yoga: This includes a combination of breathing meditative techniques and gentle exercise with poses that help reduce pain and tension. This practice has been used for over 3000 years to build both mind and body agility, strength, and flexibility.
- Tai Chi and Qi Gong: These two ancient forms of Chinese martial arts are gently practiced with yoga-like movements that are combined with meditation and breathing exercises.
- Mindfulness: This is quite simply being mindful and aware of your emotions and thoughts. It’s learning to live in the present moment and focus on what you are experiencing during meditation, like the flow and force of your breath. During this meditation, you observe your feelings and thoughts, and let them go through your mind without stopping and judging them.
- Guided: This is great for beginners. It’s also known as guided imagery and visualization. A meditation teacher uses a series of sights, sounds, and textures to help you create mental images that you find relaxing. You can do this on your own as well, but most like to have someone guide them through the visualization. You can find many on YouTube.
- Mantra: In this type of meditation, you sit in silence and repeat a mantra over and over again while also making sure the mantra matches your rhythmic breathing. It can be anything from an ancient Sanskrit mantra to one you create yourself, like “I am successful” or “I am healthy.”
Please follow the link below to watch Dr. Murphree’s new video: