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Let Meditation Smooth The Storms Of Anxiety
by Jack Brooks
Our world has taken a quantum leap in complexity, rapidity, and unpredictability. Functioning in whatever role you currently have, be it student or teacher, parent or child, worker or retiree, and any in between these takes more focus, more energy, demands more time, and requires more attention just to achieve the same results as last year. While today’s pharmacopoeia offers a seemingly endless supply of mind-altering pills for medically treating an anxious mind, when we’re just plain feeling overwhelmed, a more holistic solution is called for, and meditation fills the bill nicely.
Eastern techniques of “inner work” are now acceptable, having come out of the esoteric world of Indian yogis to the gyms, spas, and seminar rooms of America. Now, our media “gurus” tout the therapeutic value of a quieted mind for general health benefits and specifically, stress relief. Let’s see how this age-old practice can be applied to coping with today’s frenetic life challenges.
Let Stillness Bring Relief
For a beginning student, this practice, as in most meditation sessions, entails seating yourself in as quiet and undisturbed a setting as possible, in an upright yet relaxed posture with the spine straight and arms folded in your lap. Using a quiet timer set for 20 minutes (a reasonable practice period for beginners), close your eyes, breathe slowly in through the nostrils, pause, then exhale slowly out, paying attention to the soft sigh of the in breath and the gentle “whoosh” of your exhalation.
Be aware of the stillness during the pause between these; yogic sages say this brief conscious interlude is when self-enlightenment becomes most accessible.
As you develop your meditative ability, you’ll feel yourself sinking into that peaceful pond, into its still, soothing depths of tranquillity. Each time, your mind will quiet sooner, you’ll go a little deeper and gain more peace and mental refreshment.
Using Effective Meditation Techniques
Breath Witnessing is only one of a variety of approaches to meditation.
Many mediators use a mantra, which is a word or phrase, repeated verbally or silently in the mind, to serve as an object of mental focus. Some of the more well-known ones are Christian prayers, such as the Hail Mary prayer, and the Tibetan Buddhist chant, Om Mani Padma Hum.
You can adapt any philosophical or spiritual phrase or affirmation to fulfil this function; many use their favorite one as a goal setting affirmation. Perhaps you recall Dale Carnegie’s famous mantra, “Every Day, In Every Way, I’m Getting Better and Better!” In fact, there exist entire schools of meditative Yoga with specific mantras and techniques for reaching deeper stages of dissociation from day-to-day consciousness and moving into more extensive depths. These are widely available if you wish to explore more deeply or follow an extended meditative program.
The advantages to meditation are many; minimal expense and flexibility in scheduling your sessions are just a few. How often can you gain physical and mental benefits without doctors, clinics, therapists and medicines?
Actually, all that is a prerequisite is your willingness and persistence to seek a quiet place and devote a little time to beginning a new and healthful practice. After all, like the old song says. “The Best Things In Life Are Free……….”
Second is the breathing exercise to reduce anxiety. I suffer from chronic pain and use the same procedures to lower my degree of pain. I also have found that while lowering pain it also lowers my blood pressure and body temperature.
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