Meditation: The Perfect Antidote to Stress

 In Inspiration, McLean Meditation Institute, Meditation Tips, Mindfulness, Sarah McLean

Life is extremely fast-paced, and people are over-stimulated, over-scheduled, and over-committed. This causes stress. It was recently discovered that over 80% of all doctors’ visits are due to stress-related complaints, and often, stress is due to of our out-of-balance lifestyles, and those not-so-nourishing choices we habitually make.

Not surprisingly, taking a break can actually improve your health: physically, emotionally, and mentally. One way to take a break is to meditate.

Meditation is the perfect way to unplug, unwind, and take a break—and it only takes a few minutes a day. Meditation can actually improve physical and mental health, relationships, and the ability to make better choices.You’ll think more clearly and learn to change some of the habits that don’t support you. And, meditation will help you feel better almost immediately. It’s like a mini vacation!

Meditation is also great companion on your path of self-discovery and healing.

These days meditation is going mainstream and we’re here to help you find out why. Are you looking for what’s missing in your life or want to find an unshakable sense of peace—no matter what the world “out there” is up to?  A daily practice of meditation allows just that. You’ll learn to turn your attention inward and connect with who you really are, outside of your roles and responsibilities.

Who Meditates?

People from all walks of life learn to meditate and love it. Professional athletes, teens, corporate executives, retirees, doctors, students, judges, lawyers, architects, engineers, and musicians have taken our meditation courses, adopted a daily practice, and some go on to become meditation teachers.

Even if you’ve read books on meditation or listened to meditation tapes and don’t feel competent, we’ll show you foolproof essentials to get your meditation groove on. We’ve even successfully taught type-A personalities who say they are way too busy, and others who say, “I can’t quiet my mind.”

Even those who are merely curious and or who have been coerced into taking the course by their spouses or parents find success with meditation! With the meditation and mindfulness classes that are taught at the McLean Meditation Institute, it seems that everyone enjoys their experience and can easily continue with meditation on their own.

Meditation is studied in more and more in classrooms, clinics, research laboratories, and spiritual centers – and we see it work everyday in ourselves, in those we love, and in those we teach. Individuals 40 years and older go to the doctor 73% less often if they have a regular meditation practice. And meditators have 87.3% fewer admissions to the hospital for heart disease, and 55.4% fewer admissions for benign and malignant tumors of all types.

Ways that Meditation & Mindfulness Benefit the Body:

That’s probably why meditation is becoming more and more popular and is often recommended as a complement to traditional therapies.  Rather than medicating away the symptoms of chronic conditions that some of us suffer from, meditation is prescribed to prevent and reduce the stress that underlies disease. Remember the saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? Meditation is that prevention.

Here are some of the proven physical effects:

  • Lower cholesterol
  • Curb insomnia
  • Boost the immune system
  • Reduce depression
  • Alleviate stress levels
  • Enhance memory
  • Treat drug and alcohol abuse
  • Lower high blood pressure
  • Ease pain of arthritis
  • Speed up the healing response
  • Relieve digestive disorders
  • Reduce symptoms of PMS and menopause

One of the biggest benefits from meditation is lowered blood pressure, and the general calming of the nervous system. A 1974 study conducted at Harvard Medical School (and since repeated in other studies) reported that borderline hypertension often responds extremely well to meditation. Just by practicing meditation, most people under the age of 40 could expect to fall below the limit set for borderline hypertension, which is 130.90.

Not only does meditation aid in lowering heart rate and blood pressure, it has been used to help people quit smoking and conquer drug and alcohol addictions.  Meditation relieves anxiety and depression and insomnia. And, it regulates hormones, including reducing cortisol -the stress hormone, and increasing DHEA – the youth hormone.

Meditation is Good for the Mind, too.

The mind body connection shows that stress and emotional trauma can turn into chemical toxins, the so-called “stress hormones” that have been linked to many different diseases. Because the mind and body are intimately connected, when the mind settles down, so does the body. This allows for the release of stress-induced physical symptoms. And since most disease is caused by or worsened by stress, meditation is really good for your physical and mental health.

Those who meditate report a greater sense of inner peace, a feeling of well being, calm and happiness.  They also report higher levels of self-esteem, a clearer mind, the ability to focus and make better decisions. Others say they are less dependent on what others think or say about them to feel their value as a human being.  Many say it helps them to figure out what they really want and clarify their goals.

A regular practice or meditation will make a difference in social situations too. Fear and anxiety will no longer be a constant companions. You’ll find yourself more calm and centered. And this can be good for your relationships. When you’re stressed out, it can affect everyone around you at home and at work. People also find that meditating together is a harmonious experience.

Here are some more psychological benefits:

  • Reduced anxiety and expanded capacity for happiness
  • Improved concentration and focus
  • Improved mental clarity
  • Improved performance, efficiency, and productivity
  • Increased job satisfaction
  • Decreased need for addictive substances
  • Increased self-awareness and self-confidence
  • Increased fluid intelligence (IQ)
  • Increased intuition
  • Reduce depression
  • Relieve anxiety and compulsive behavior
  • Alleviate stress levels
  • Improve decision-making ability
  • Enhance memory
  • A general sense of well-being

It’s Good for the Soul:

Along with the many psychological and physical benefits, when you practice meditation daily, you also receive spiritual benefits.  Many say meditation helps them to figure out what they really want and clarify their goals. Some report it helps them to be present emotionally and mentally when they are with their loved ones or doing their work, rather than being distracted and missing the experience of their lives. Meditation also increases intuition and develops a peaceful mind.

In meditation, you connect with your true self, that essence that exists without dependance on the roles and responsibilities you have or the labels you take on. You’ll become more aware of who you really are, and can tune into your intuition and your true feelings, including the way your body responds to the situations you face. As you develop more self-awareness, you’ll make better choices in life and this leads to a life of more comfort. When you connect to that deepest part of you, you access more energy, creativity and inner awareness – your natural state of being.

During meditation you gain a deeper rest than in sleep, yet at the same time, your awareness expands. You’ll feel more rested and you’ll begin to cultivate a centeredness and sense of balance that before might have seemed elusive when you were faced with stressful situations.

Even a few minutes of meditation every day can help. In the morning, a meditation can help you feel more alert and relaxed all day. And, when you get home from work, you can meditate to help you shift gears and transition from work mode to your life at home.

It has also been shown that meditation creates:

  • A deeper sense of connection to others
  • An awareness and connection with your higher self and source, or Creator
  • Enrichment of all aspects of your life
  • Activation of the expansive qualities of the heart
  • Easy access to the power of attention and intention to realize your deepest desires
  • Increased occurrence of synchronicities

It’s always a good time to learn to meditate. And with our classes and techniques, you’ll be able to meditate right the very first time! Find out when the next meditation class is scheduled in Sedona, Arizona, or, find a meditation teacher near you.

Sarah McLean
Sarah McLean considers herself an American Transcendentalist. She’s dedicated her life to exploring meditation: living as a resident of both a Zen Buddhist monastery and a traditional ashram in India, as well as living and working in a Transcendental Meditation center. She headed up the education programs at Deepak Chopra’s center in California and Byron Katie’s School for the Work. Sarah is a best-selling Hay House author of the books Soul-Centered: Transform Your Life in 8 Weeks with Meditation and The Power of Attention: Awaken to Love and its Unlimited Potential with Meditation. She's also a sought-after speaker who is determined to create more peace on this planet by helping people wake up to the wonder and beauty of their lives and the world around them through the practice of meditation.
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