We all get stressed. And sometimes it feels like a bit of a competition about how busy, tired and stressed we are. A ridiculous way to live, right?
At one point in my life I didn’t realize how chronically stressed and burned out I was until I ended up at the doctor’s office. And was hooked up to an EKG machine to see if I was having a heart attack. I was 28.
Yes, clearly stress can get out of control.
So what can you do about it?
Here’s where meditation comes in.
Meditation is a powerful stress release tool.
When you meditate, your breath rate slows, your heart rate and blood pressure go down, and your muscle tension decreases. Your body also releases endorphins. Endorphins are those feel good hormones that you get from exercising, eating chocolate and having sex. But you can also get them from meditating.
Meditation makes you feel good!
Your mental state changes to become more positive because your stress symptoms, like anxiety, are released. Your brain physically changes over time. The grey-matter in your amygdala decreases which is awesome because it’s known to play a significant role in stress.
Meditation can change you physiologically, psychologically and emotionally.
When you’re stressed out, you’re more vulnerable to catching a bug. Have you ever been through a stressful time and ended up having to take time off work because you’re sick? Yes, sadly, being chronically stressed lowers your immune system. And you’re more likely to get sick more often.
But guess what? Meditation can help boost your immune system!
Those endorphins I mentioned before? Well they also play a part in our immune system. Meditating releases endorphins. Meditation also increases the production of melatonin. You might’ve heard of people taking melatonin to help them sleep. Well melatonin also acts as a powerful antioxidant! It destroys harmful free radicals, which cause destruction at a cellular level. And meditation increases the production of DHEA. DHEA is key to boosting immune function. So it’s incredibly helpful in fighting off potential infections.
Take a moment now to notice how you’re feeling. Are you fighting off yet another cold? Are you feeling worried, anxious or stressed out?
Try this simple breath meditation to help kick-start your stress-relief journey:
In a comfortable seated position, place your hands on your belly.
You can keep your eyes opened or have them closed.
Now breathe in deeply through your nose and feel your belly rise.
And breathe out slowly through your nose and feel your belly
Continue breathing in this way for 2–5 minutes and then notice how
Allow yourself to practice this simple meditation each day as a powerful stress-release tool that you can tap into wherever you are.
Originally published at medium.com