Good morning SOTGC readers. Over the past ten years I have been working on learning how to relax, quiet my mind, and as my previous US Vice President of Sales once said to me when I was stressing about a fire I had to put out at work “just chill out”. Being a high energy, very driven, and potentially ADD person in a fast paced environment, this is oftentimes hard to do. Getting to the point where you realize you are too stressed for it to be healthy and recognizing that you need to decompress is all great and well. However, learning how to do this can be difficult. Ideally it would be great to hit up a weekend retreat or take off into the mountains for a few days of reading, hiking, and communing with nature, but this option isn’t always possible.
One of the suggestions that people offer highly stressed individuals is the “art of meditation”, defined as: Meditation is a practice of concentrated focus upon a sound, object, visualization, the breath, movement, or attention itself in order to increase awareness of the present moment, reduce stress, promote relaxation, and enhance personal and spiritual growth
The first time I heard about this my initial response was “I have to SIT quietly?!?! For HOW long?!?! And completely clear my mind?! Are you new here? I can’t do that!!!” And so for a couple more years I continued “not being able to do that” and watched my stress level grow. That being said, I am always up for trying something new if it has potential health benefits. One night when I had a particularly stressful day I went home, lit a candle, sat quietly just focusing on breathing, (I set a timer for fifteen minutes so that I had an “end point”) and at the end of that time I felt more relaxed than I had in months.
Being the fan of articles and studies that I am, I logged onto the MIT News website and found a study that MIT and Harvard conducted called “The Benefits of Meditation“. Meditation has been touted for not only helping to relax an individual, but also for helping relieve chronic pain.
While this article provides a better understanding of the physical happenings that occur when one mediates, it’s always good to implement your own personal experience into the equation. If you’ve had a stressful week, or are dealing with a situation that is leaving you agitated and “wound up”, try doing some simple breathing exercises. If you’re like me and have trouble quieting your mind, or finding that “clear focal point”, try lighting a candle in a dark room and just focus on breathing for fifteen or so minutes. I’ve found that no matter how tense my day or week gets, if I can make myself relax and decompress in some manner, no situation is too complex to handle.