De-Stressing Via Meditation

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Even though I like to write a lot about nutrition and fitness on this website, one realm of biohacking I haven’t written anything about has to do with meditation.

Many have probably heard somebody saying how mediation positively affects our cognition, relationships, self-confidence etc. Many have probably heard that meditating regularly calms the mind in today’s lunatic environment of too much information. Many have probably heard that meditation helps to get rid of excess worrying, mental depression, and is a highly effective tool in regaining focus and concentrating on  what really matters.

I recently watched the Free The Mind“ documentary which showed how a 1-week long clinical trial used deep breathing meditation to dramatically reduce the symptoms of PTSD in veterans and help children with ADHD reduce their anxieties.

 

Meditation Sounds Great – In Theory

So, in theory meditation sounds like a great idea on paper with the all of the above benefits.

But how many people actually practice meditation on a regular basis to experience its powerful benefits?

My guess is that it’s way too few people because they are too occupied being busy and chasing a lifestyle that constantly bombards our brain with bullshit information. These are usually the same people who simply discard the idea of meditation and deem it as a waste of time because „YOU ARE SOO UNPRODUCTIVE“ when you meditate.

There is one group who will insist that there isn’t enough time during their day to make place for something as trivial as sitting in a quiet place and not thinking about anything at all.

And then there is the other group of people to whom meditation conjures a picture of some Tibetan monk meditating for hours somewhere in wild nature. This group usually thinks that meditation involves too much work to learn properly and takes too long to attain high proficiency in meditation.

 

My Previous Meditation Experiences

Sri-Chinmoy-3-reddoti

Sri Chinmoy

I used to be one of the same people who was convinced that meditation was too hard and should be left to the ones who were willing to invest years into it.

At this point in my life, I am convinced that absolutely everyone is perfectly capable to meditate. If you are human being, you can meditate.

I started practising meditation in a Sri Chinmoy centre almost two years ago and was given a lot of  wise guidance.

One of the most memorable meditation sessions I have had practising the philosophy of Sri Chinmoy involved focusing my gaze on a candlelight for what seemed like an eternity. At first, my mind was still heavily occupied with thousands of trivial thoughts stealing my attention. But increasingly, as I began to focus my attention on the flicker of the candlelight I became more centred and my conscience internalised this small candlelight. 

After 10-15 min in this perpetual „not-thinking-about-anything“ state I ended the session with my mind feeling incredibly light and pleasantly unburdened of all the useless information that had been floating around before.

 

Different Forms of Meditation

Meditation doesn’t have a single definition and must not constrained by any fixed rules. It can come in many different forms and doesn’t necessarily have to involve sitting in a lotus position with your hands folded in some complex way looking at a candlelight.

It can be just sitting somewhere quiet, closing your eyes, ans focusing on the rhythm of your own breath. When I feel stressed during the day, I often remind myself to just take 10 deep breaths to calm my mind and bring my heart rate down. After consciously focusing on my breath, the stuff I worried or was angry about before doesn’t seem to bother me as much any more.

Calming your mind by cooking

Calming your mind through cooking

Cooking is another form of meditation for me. It’s not as effective as the breathing practice mentioned above but after a long day I can feel profound de-stressing effects through the simple act of food preparation.

 

Making Meditation a Habit

I gave up meditation for more than a year but have recently integrated it back into my daily activities. I don’t meditate much by any means (maybe 10 min in the morning + meditation through cooking in the evening). But I have noticed that I have become calmer and am able to regain focus more easily since I restarted a few weeks ago.

One website that has helped me tremendously is Calm.Com. Their music is just incredibly calming and their guided meditation (2, 5, 10, 20 min) is great to unwind in the midst of the daily rush.

If you want to start with meditation, start small. 2 min per day for a week. It doesn’t matter if it’s only for that short. What matters is that you actually set aside those 2 min during the day to completely tune out. Think about committing long-term. Make it a habit for a week and you can increase your time from then on.

One last important thing to remember: actually relax and calm yourself and don’t treat meditation like another Spinning class you need to attend happening every Tuesday evening at 8 PM.

At the beginning you will sometimes need to force yourself to meditate to establish the habit, but there should come a point where you don’t actually think about it any more but simply meditate because you genuinely the de-stressing effects it has on you.

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  • http://criticalmas.com/ MIchael Allen Smith

    That Calm site is pretty cool. Simple yet powerful interface.