Buddha famously said, “Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” This is why meditating for stress relief is such a crucial part of anyone's plans to de-stress their life. Meditating is a way to turn off one's mind and tap into the infinite knowingness, order, and natural beauty of the universe.
What Is Stress?
There are good and bad kinds of stress. Since we are on the topic of relief from stress, we'll get straight to the bad kind, which is defined as a state of great anxiety, strain, or pressure–real or perceived. These physical and emotional strains are caused by our responses to pressures. Common stress reactions include inability to concentrate, irritability, headache, tension, increased blood pressure and pulse, strokes, and a weakened immune system.
Studies show that millions of Americans report being stressed at work—from 11 million reported a decade ago, the numbers continue to grow worldwide. Stress reduction is such a real problem that the US Public Health Service has officially recognized it as one of their top health priorities.
How Effective Is Meditation?
You may be surprised to learn that meditation and it's impact on people, places, and things has been
heavily studied. There have been at least 1500 individual studies conducted since 1930. Meditation also has wide-spread, scientifically-observable results. Some of the most commonly observed benefits include: reduced anxiety and nervousness, reduced fear of dying, production of the stress hormone Cortisol was significantly diminished, and it can even make you look and feel younger!
Furthermore, people who have been diagnosed with heart disease then began meditating regularly saw a reduction in the disease's effects and some even reversed the disease. Medical insurance companies have even studied meditation and found that meditators were 87% less likely to be hospitalized for heart disease and 55% less likely to be hospitalized for cancer. Doctors have found that their patients who meditate regularly have more energy, more patience, and greater productivity. One chemical company in Detroit implemented a meditation program during the work day and, after a three-year study, found that absenteeism fell 85%, productivity grew 120%, injuries were reduced by 70%, and profits grew by 520%.
Start Meditating for Stress Relief Today
If you have never meditated before, have no fear. Your first thought might be, “I have no time to mediate!” Remember what Peter McWilliams says, “Some people think that meditation takes time away from physical accomplishment. Taken to extremes, of course, that's true. Most people,
however, find that meditation creates more time than it takes.”
Stay tuned for my series on meditation techniques for stress relief.
~ Jillian Avey, purelifemeditation.com