The sound of the baby crying…The sound of the kids arguing…The sound of the dog barking. So many noises and so much stress. As a mother, can you find the time to slip away and get away from it all for a little peace and quiet? A little “me” time. There are many ways to relieve stress but have you tried meditation and does meditation relieve stress?
Stress can make us more tired, more unhappy, and more frustrated if we don’t find the time to deal with it. When we do try to deal with it, what are we doing? Eating the wrong foods, taking the wrong supplements, or watching stressful shows.
Are any of those things helping our stress? Definitely Not!
Meditation is an easy way to help you relieve stress and you can start it right now.
What is Meditation?
Meditation, contrary to what you may believe, is not taking time to sit quietly and think about the things bothering you. It is actually a technique that requires you retaining a state of consciousness as you rest the mind. It is not the same as prayer and is not a part of a religious practice. It is a way to attain mental peace and tranquility.
Does Meditation Relieve Stress?
Meditation has been around for several thousands of years but in the 1970’s Herbert Benson, a Harvard Doctor pioneered a technique called the “relaxation response”. When our bodies are stressed we release the hormones adrenaline(also called epinephrine). By improving the techniques of the relaxation response we can achieve the relaxation we need to;
- improve our mood – Meditation reduces what is called GABA(Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid) our bodies natural mood enhancer. Studies have shown that people who suffer from seizures may not have enough GABA and people who are addicted to drugs, gambling, and such may also have low levels of GABA.
- lower our blood pressure – Due to the fact that meditation is effective in reducing our stress levels, meditation has also been known to lower our blood pressure.
- slow our breathing – As you practice different breathing techniques, you gain control of your breathing which teaches you how to effectively slow your breathing.
- lowers our metabolism – The deep and slow breathing exercises you perform during meditation allow your arteries to open up and help your blood flow allowing the blood to get to needed organs quicker.
- relax our muscles – As you meditate, this allows your body to relax and not require your heart to pump as much blood to your muscles allowing them to relax and release tension.
- and decrease our pulse rate – Meditation allows your body to achieve a state of calmness which will improve circulation and will allow your heart rate to reduce.
This level of relaxation relieves stress. Once the technique is learned it can be used whenever necessary. An all natural way to tap into your bodies own defenses.
What is the Relaxation Response?
The relaxation response was introduced by Harvard Medical Dr. Herbert Benson in a book he wrote in 1971. He spent a lot of time studying the brains of monks and the effects of meditation in the 60s and 70s. These results were published in his book.
According to Dr. Benson, the relaxation response is,
The relaxation response is a physical state of deep rest that changes the physical and emotional responses to stress… and the opposite of the fight or flight response.” It is “an opposite, involuntary response that causes a reduction in the activity of the sympathetic nervous system.
The relaxation response is difficult at first but if you set some time aside every day you will learn the technique in no time. Try to set 10 to 20 minutes a day aside to practice. Since this can be practiced while doing other tasks, try to take time while doing some normal task such as; walking, before bed, in the park, or during yoga. Dr. Benson says the relaxation response should not be practiced within two hours of eating because it may affect the digestive system.
Below is a video from Dr. Benson taking you through the steps of the relaxation process.
When you are feeling stress or you just need to relax, using meditation is a great way to achieve lower stress and anxiety and stress levels and bring a calm to your body. The help benefits you gain from meditation only is a reason to start using this technique.
You don’t have to be an expert or a yoga practitioner to meditate you can take time to practice meditation every day.
The relaxation response is a great way to relieve stress because it can be performed while doing other tasks. I like to meditate while I walk or as I lie down. It helps me to relax and makes it much easier for me to fall asleep.
Even if you are not stressed, meditation can be beneficial to you.
Do you use meditation when you are stressed? Have you heard of the relaxation response before today?
If you have any questions or comments about this post, please feel free to leave your comments below. Any suggestions are welcome!