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Reduce Stress and Gain Awareness through Meditation

By Mary Serphos
Certified Health Coach and Licensed Therapist

In our fast paced lives, many of us are surrounded by a daily onslaught of challenges and demands, stress, and endless technological pressures including social networking, non-stop email, phone calls and texts. It's no wonder that our ability to live with the joy, awareness and compassion that so many of us crave is highly compromised. Our bodies and minds can tolerate only so much mental and emotional overload. Universally, we have reached a saturation point. One way to cope is to practice meditation.

Meditation has been around for ages and has been an underlying component of numerous religious traditions and beliefs. Since the 1960s, meditation has been the focus of increasing scientific research. According to Wikipedia, more than 1,000 research studies have been published detailing the numerous methods of meditation that have led to positive shifts in metabolism and brain activation. Meditation has been shown to help control pain, increase longevity, slow down cancer, invigorate the immune system and significantly reduce blood pressure. Furthermore, the benefits of meditation for our wellbeing are countless: most notably, meditation helps us sleep better and decreases anxiety and depression.
 
   
 

Recently, meditation has been quite the buzzword in the holistic health arena, and many articles have been written about what it is, what it's not, and how to do it. The truth is that there is no "one way" or "right way" to practice meditation; rather, meditation covers a vast array of experiences and activities, from sitting still and observing your breathing to walking or moving while practicing "mindfulness" or awareness of the present moment throughout daily life. We delve into the realm of equanimity, a place where we react less, feel more and carefully observe in order to take wise action during our daily lives.

No matter how you practice, the key to meditation is to tap into the capacity for awareness that we all posses. The practice enables us to see our thoughts (even the most uncomfortable ones) with clarity and, with time, build up to the point where we let them all go. This is the goal: not to stop the thoughts but to give the thinking mind a break from all the planning, judging, desires, struggles and inner turmoil and "just be." To use the simple but potent words of my meditation teacher, Jack Kornfield, "Through meditation, we learn to rest in the state of awareness."

Through an ongoing practice of regular meditation, those everyday challenges, demands and setbacks most likely will be looked at differently, maybe even acknowledged as gifts or lessons stemming from a place of abundance and ability rather than as setbacks or frustrations. As you develop a meditation practice that focuses on awareness, your capacity for happiness, compassion and awareness will shift and ultimately increase. The benefits will be evident even if you step out of your busy life for just five minutes a day to sit in stillness and "just be."

For free guided meditations go to:www.chopra.com/davidji/guidedmeditations


 

More Health News

Schoolchildren in Costa Rica at Risk of Intestinal Parasites and Infections

More than 57 percent of school-age children in Costa Rica are currently affected by intestinal parasites and infections, while 32 percent of children attending preschool and kindergarten are also at risk.

Why I Heart Yoga Dudes

I have a soft spot for all the dudes out there who practice yoga! Truth be told, most women do. The balance of yin/yang, shiva/shakti in a class as both a teacher and a student truly enhances the entire experience.

Never Too Late to Celebrate Laughter Day

"When you laugh, you change, when you change, the world changes," says Madan Kataria, credited as founder of the Laughter Yoga movement.

Dental Students Volunteer In Nosara

A room at Harmony Hotel became an impromptu dentist office from Wednesday afternoon to Friday May 4 as part of a community outreach effort organized by the hotel and the University of Costa Rica’s school of dentistry.

Can Eating White Rice Lead to Diabetes?

Rice is an essential part of Costa Rica's diet. There are few staple foods with which Costa Ricans have such a close relationship. Just take a look at any Tico family's everyday menu: gallo pinto for breakfast, a casado (with rice, of course!) for lunch and arroz con pollo (chicken and rice) for dinner.

 

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