Meditation: The Ultimate Mobile Stress Busting Device
Meditation is an excellent way to reduce the chronic stress and anxiety that can erode our health.
For people with diabetes continuous high stress translates into elevated, and more difficult to regulate glucose levels, and an increased risk for heart disease.
A simple meditation practice, even a few minutes each day, counteracts stress by diminishing self-critical or worrisome mental chatter, and helping us regain the ability to choose what we focus on—more of the time.
Because a meditation practice does not have to be long or complicated, and the well-being benefits are tremendous, it’s unfortunate that common misperceptions about meditation prevent some people from giving it a try.
Many individuals have the idea, for instance, that meditation is a religious activity, or one that requires adherence to techniques such as chanting. However, as a tool for quieting our mind, meditation requires no particular philosophy, belief, or practice method:
- Sitting In Lotus Position: Optional. We can meditate sitting in a chair, lying down, while we walk, clean the garage, or chop vegetables. Though using the lotus position provides physical benefits to those whose joints can tolerate it, it is not a meditation requirement.
- Chanting: Also Optional. Some forms of meditation utilize chant or mantras (repeated words or phrases) to help focus the mind. However, many types of meditation, and many experienced meditators, do not use chant.
- Not An Escape. The goal of meditation is to not to escape problems, but to reduce mental noise that overwhelms our emotions and prevents us from thinking clearly. A quieter mind allows us to better assess and address what is occurring in our lives.
- Can Be Secular. Some religions and spiritual practices use meditation to discipline the mind, as do many individuals and groups unassociated with a particular belief system.
- It’s Not About Not Thinking. As uncontrolled mental babbling begins to subside through meditation, our ability to think purposefully and productively - when we need or want to - increases.
- More Than Relaxation. While the body may relax during meditation it is owed to the quieting of our thoughts—and the quieting of thought requires effort, the effort of focusing our attention.
Easy To Get Started
Even a couple minutes of meditation are beneficial, and basic meditation practices are simple, such as:
- Focusing on, or following our breath, or
- Watching thoughts pass through the mind, as if we are parade spectators watching thoughts pass by, or
- Noticing our body’s sensations without labeling them good or bad (e.g., physical sensations, feelings or emotions, the beating of our heart).
While setting aside some quiet time and space are a meditation ideal, we can hit the mute button during TV commercials, close our eyes, and focus on our breath for those two or three minutes. It’s that easy to get started.
“Meditation is the ultimate mobile device; you can use it anywhere, anytime, unobtrusively.” ~ Sharon Salzberg, Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation