According to the Mayo Clinic, meditation helps patients with medical conditions that might be worsened by stress. This would include the following conditions:
High blood pressure
However, meditation is also highly beneficial for those of us needing a frequent mental reset. To help “cleanse” our mind and let go of the restlessness that a cluttered mind creates. If my mind is out of control–which is more often than not–I find that scrubbing my kitchen floor, going for a long run, or jamming out a heavyweight bag session helps clear away my mental chaos.
Since I have used physically stimulating exercise as my only form of stress relief for so long, I have not really thought of adding another modality into the mix. But, after looking into meditation a little more, and dissecting my personal routine, I realized a discrepancy.
During my workout, my mind is free of unwanted (or unnecessary) ideas and thoughts. I am forced to shift all of my energy into my lungs and my muscles–my physical body. I feel wonderful after my workout. I am physically renewed. However, my mind is usually thrust back into “clutterville” within hours. Although my body is recharged, my brain is firing in overdrive once again.
I have tried using yoga for this purpose, but I always placed my attention on the physical aspect of the practice. I have yet to solely dedicate time to relax or de-stress my mind. Well, that is not entirely true. I do “veg-out” on movies, which is generally considered relaxing, or a mindless pursuit. Although the old tube is regarded as passive activity, it still fills our mind with new pictures, sounds and thoughts. If you’re like me, your brain continues to flush through those images and ideas long after the TV was turned off. The same is true when I read; for work or pleasure.
Since my creative mind cannot relax with active or passive endeavors, it’s time for a change. I have decided to add meditation into my weekly schedule. It is not on my workout list. It has its own column; its own significance in my calendar life.
My mind is responsible for everything I do–I need to maintain its integrity; its health and overall wellbeing. The Mayo Clinic believes that meditation offers a new perspective on stressful situations, builds stress management skills, increases self-awareness, reduces negative emotions and helps you to focus on the present. “Focus on the present.” Ugh. That sounds like my first step into this quiet journey…
Here is an easy “how to” from mercola.com:
- Find a quiet place
- Choose a meaningful mantra
- Sit quietly with your eyes closed and repeat the mantra over and over
- Do this for about 20 minutes, twice a day
You can modify this version when you first begin. For example, you could start meditating a few times a week, for five to ten minutes during each session. Simply work your way up to 20 minutes as you become more comfortable with the process.
There are many other types of meditation and available resources for meditative purposes. I will review and cover some of those in the coming months. Until then, keep flexing your mind, body and soul! Also, make sure to share your FLEX stories with firstname.lastname@example.org.
*This department comes from the mind of Ffjorren Zolfaghar, HB Mag’s Editor & Content Director–a workout enthusiast. She began a regular routine of long distance running and core conditioning when she was 13 years old. Since then, she tested the vast waters of workout models including marathon running, weight training, yoga, Pilates, Tae Bo, kickboxing, boxing, Zumba, spin, P90X, hiking, walking, prenatal yoga, water classes, core conditioning classes, sandbox workouts and the list goes on. She is excited to dig a little deeper and offer support in this very important area of our lives: keeping our bodies FLEXed and ready for life!