When you are stressed, your thought patterns are in your right frontal cortex. (This is why lobotomies were common as a cure for PTSD and anxiety.) The right side of your brain is creatively trying to escape the stressors and artistically avoid conflict. It fails to consult the analytic left side on how to get organized for breaking activities down into smaller pieces for a more effective attack.
When you are stressed, your whole body gets in on the game, not just your brain. Your heart rate jumps up, your blood vessels constrict raising your blood pressure, your blood stream infuses with adrenaline which suppresses feel-good brain chemicals, your breathing rate increases to accommodate the increased heartbeat and other bodily functions…all this makes you tired faster.
Oh, right. You are just going to quit stressing. Well, you can.
Want to trade all of the physical reactions above for even a handful of these?
- Younger looking skin
- Lower cholesterol
- Lower blood pressure
- Decreased anxiety
- Less depression
- Better sleep
- Increased happiness
- More peace
- Improved memory
- Steadier heartbeat
- More creativity
Gather up all of your stress and squeeze it. Now, let’s try something different.
First thing is to move that stress from your crowded right brain over to your filing system left brain where it will be broken into smaller pieces and put into compartments. How? Meditation or prayer. Go somewhere quiet(er) and be still.
By meditating, you are concentrating on one thing: Calm. The first step is to slow your breathing. When your breathing is down to six breaths per minute, your lungs and your heart are in the perfect biorhythm. You have just begun the path to better cardiovascular health.
While you were busy counting breaths, something fundamental happened. Your left brain filed away all those stressors under Worry about this some other time, like never.
When you aligned your (now empty) brain with the cardiopulmonary rhythm, you set the stage for the right oxygen flow to your organs and your skin. The decreased blood pressure allows more blood to flow through the tiny blood vessels in your skin, making it more resilient (anti-aging). This oxygen-rich blood infusion is good for all of your organs which filter out toxins (anti-aging) like kidneys, liver and intestines (better digestion).
The vasodilation makes breathing easier and saturates your brain in oxygen, making it:
- rest easier
- think clearer
- learn faster
- retain more
- send waves more coherently
- stabilize moods better
- decrease anxiety reactions
- produce more feel good chemicals (happiness)
The longer you practice meditation, the greater your chances of shifting from being mired in stress to personal and spiritual growth. If you choose prayer, the greater the likelihood you will shift your stressors to your higher power.
Make a Difference
You do not need a book or a guru or a shaman to meditate or pray. You can do this all on your own.
1. Go to a quiet place.
This can be your bedroom. You can close the door to your office. Sit in your car. Go out into the backyard.
Turn off distractions like music, telephone, computer and television. Be quiet.
2. Be still.
Sit down. Lie down. Let your body be at rest and comfortable. No nervous twitching. No fidgeting. No looking around the room. Close your eyes to block out extra stimuli. Turn off the light if it helps reduce distractions.
3. Take deep breaths.
Slow your breath rate. Inhale to the count of four. Hold your breath to the count of seven. Exhale to the count of eight. Build up to the numbers until you are all the way there.
4. Meditate or pray.
Your mind is empty of everything except the number of your breaths. Let them autopilot and your mind reach out to the quiet. Let your mind go where it will, but stop shy of your stressors.
With a clear mind, journal what your insights are. Write your thoughts or draw what your mind’s eye created. Embrace your creativity.
Take time everyday to meditate or pray. It is just the medicine to heal a stressed mind and body.
You do make a difference. Give your brain and body the chance to be the most effective they can be by recharging what makes them work. When you are at your peak, you are making the most difference in your world, for yourself and everyone else.
With this list of benefits, you would be hard pressed to supply a reason not to meditate or pray.
Do you meditate or pray? Where do you escape the stressors? Will you Make A Difference in your own life by dropping the stress? Have you ever been surprised by what you created when your mind was at rest after meditation or prayer?
(c) Red Dwyer 2012
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