While the holiday season brings twinkling lights, events with family and friends, carols, and decorations into our lives, it often brings new stresses as well. In order to manage this stress, during the season and other times throughout the year, Roper Physical Therapy suggests you try meditation.
Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years. Originally, meditation was meant to help deepen understanding of the sacred and mystical forces of life. Today, meditation is commonly used to reduce stress and encourage relaxation. While meditation isn’t mainstream, many people practice it and it is becoming more common to encourage its practice. From students going through finals to nurses, whose jobs can involve high levels of stress, meditation is often recommended as a way to better deal with stress in hopes of avoiding stress-related health problems.
In an article on the Harvard Health Blog, Julie Corliss specifically addressed how meditation may be beneficial for those suffering from anxiety and mental stress. Quoting Dr. Elizabeth Hoge, a a psychiatrist at the Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders at Massachusetts General Hospital and an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, “People with anxiety have a problem dealing with distracting thoughts that have too much power,” she explains. “They can’t distinguish between a problem-solving thought and a nagging worry that has no benefit.” Using meditation, people can train themselves to experience these thoughts differently. Dr. Hoge elaborated, “You might think ‘I’m late, I might lose my job if I don’t get there on time, and it will be a disaster!’ Mindfulness teaches you to recognize, ‘Oh, there’s that thought again. I’ve been here before. But it’s just that—a thought, and not a part of my core self,’” says Dr. Hoge. For the full article, click here
Meditating calls you to focus your attention to your thoughts in efforts to be present, and eliminate the stream of thoughts about the past, future, and things you can’t control. It is often these thoughts that crowd people’s minds and cause stress. In meditation, participants are encouraged to sit comfortably and focus on their breathing, while not allowing thoughts and concerns about the past or future to occupy their mind. In addition to reducing stress and easing anxiety, other benefits of meditation are promoting emotional health, enhancing self-awareness, lengthening attention span, reducing age-related memory loss, decreasing blood pressure, and improving sleep. To read more about these benefits, click here
One of the best benefits of meditation is that anyone can practice meditation. There is no special equipment needed and you can practice almost anywhere!!
To experience a meditation session led by Roper Physical Therapy via our YouTube channel, click here
While meditation has shown to be helpful in managing stress, yoga aids in stress relief as well. Different options may work better for your personal self-care and wellness.
To attend a Roper Physical Therapy yoga class, click here