For many of us, chronic stress is an unfortunate reality. It has a way of seeping into our lives and negatively affecting how we feel about ourselves and the quality of time with family and friends. This constant state of physiological hyper-arousal leads to a cascade of health problems that can severely impact your life expectancy if left unchecked.
In addition to undermining all facets of physical well-being, chronic stress also makes it harder to concentrate, stay focused on tasks at hand, be creative, make decisions, and lead to diseases like Alzheimer’s. The list goes on from there. You can find out more about Alzheimer’s care in Los Angeles if you want your loved one to recover from such a disease.
When you experience anything from mild discomfort to severe and anxiety for extended periods every day – week after week after week – it can take a severe toll. As a result, you wind up feeling exhausted and drained, without any reserve energy to face the world.
It doesn’t have to be this way. You can take steps today to reduce stress in your life, if not eliminate it over time. Meditation is one of the most powerful tools available for combating chronic stress, so let’s explore why that is.
Several different types of meditation can benefit your physical and mental health – here at High Existence, and we’ve looked extensively into Vipassana, Transcendental Meditation (TM), Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Loving Kindness Meditation (LKM), Autogenic Training (AT) …the list goes on.
Considering how many different ways there are to meditate, it can be helpful to understand why one technique is the right choice for you.
Major Ways Meditation Tool Techniques Work To Reduce Stress Levels
One of the reasons meditation tool techniques are so effective at reducing chronic stress levels is that they directly influence physiological changes by engaging different ANS/limbic brain components.
Leading With The Eyes Lowers Heart Rate & Blood Pressure
The autonomic nervous system takes notice when you focus on something specific – whether it’s a candle flame, a picture on the wall, or your breath. At this point, you have an opportunity to influence how it reacts to stimuli. When using a meditation tool technique that involves looking at something specific, you place yourself in a heightened state of awareness by voluntarily activating your hypothalamus and pituitary gland, which also happen to be components of the limbic brain.
In many ways, this practice is the opposite of “mind-wandering,” as you’re fully present with whatever object or thought serves as your point of focus. In doing so, cortisol levels drop naturally as your heart rate and blood pressure decrease. It allows for fewer stress hormones to circulate throughout your body thereby reducing chronic stress in our lives.
Focusing On The Breath Decreases Perceived Chronic Stress
Focusing on the breath during meditation serves as a natural signal for your parasympathetic nervous system to activate. It induces neurogenic relaxation, which is quite different from typical relaxation (e.g., taking a nap). Neurogenic relaxation is characterized by reduced tension in the body and lower anxiety levels.
Many people report feeling more at ease and are better equipped to manage chronic stress throughout the day after practicing mindfulness breathing for 5-20 minutes each morning (especially after waking up).
Mindfulness Of One’s Emotions Lowers Anxiety & Chronic Stress Responses
This practice encourages you to sit with whatever negative emotions come your way, without trying to block them or change them, simply observing them.
Typically, this is associated with sitting meditation or yoga, which can be done at home or in public (with the appropriate signs). While you may find it challenging to sit in “awkward” positions for extended periods, it’s worth doing because you reap greater rewards over time.
Mindfulness Of One’s Thoughts Leads To Greater Focus
There are a few ways mindfulness regarding one’s thoughts can help lower stress levels: When attempting to become more mindful about your thoughts, one thing to remember is that not all studies have equal weight.
Some chronic stress meditation techniques require more attention than others. This practice forces you to recognize the difference between important and non-important ones before reacting impulsively. Can’t decide? Ask yourself, “Will this thought help me get closer to my goals?”
Loving Kindness Meditation (LKM) Increases Self-Love
It sounds like a paradox because it’s not always easy to like ourselves when we’re in the midst of negative thoughts and feelings that can increase chronic stress in our lives; however, if you think about it, loving ourselves is much more complex when we haven’t taken care of our needs in some way. When you practice LKM, each intention statement (e.g., “may I be happy”) is sent out to yourself or someone close to you. This type of meditation requires more active practice than others, which means there’s no time like the present!
Having A Diverse Toolbox Of Meditation Techniques To Choose From Leads To Greater Success
While it’s always best to practice the same technique for chronic stress each day (e.g., loving-kindness meditation), it is helpful to engage in different tools throughout your week. This way, you can shift between activities depending on your mood and energy level. If you decide to engage in several techniques simultaneously, make sure they’re complementary rather than contradictory (e.g., mindfulness of thoughts and feelings may not work well together).
Engaging In The Right Amount Of Mindful Activities For Your Lifestyle
The amount of activity required for stress reduction depends on individual factors, such as mental health, physical health, age, etc. The key is to find what works for you and then stick with it.
Here Are our Telltale Signs Of Stress That You Should Not Ignore
Were you aware of how quickly and readily life’s difficulties may have a detrimental impact on your overall well-being? You’ve almost certainly gone through a period in your life when difficult circumstances have arisen, and at the end of the road, you feel as if you’ve triumphed over the problem.
However, even if you were successful in dealing with the circumstance, there may be some very genuine side-effects that you fail to recognize because they are simply “things that happen” in life.
It’s possible that some of those very things are indications of stress, which, if ignored, can lead to additional difficulties down the road. Consider whether any of the following actions or states of mind have been prevalent in your life at any point in time.
You may be experiencing symptoms of unacknowledged stress if you are able to identify with them. It is critical that you address this stress as soon as possible. Stress-reduction techniques such as exercise and meditation can provide significant relief and help you to regain your health and well-being.
Physical and Mental Signs of Chronic Stress and How to Spot Them
1. A shift in sleeping patterns. Your body is unique, and no one knows it better than you. You are aware of how much sleep you typically get on a good night, and if you are sleeping much more or less than usual, it is likely that you are experiencing stress. A shift in sleeping patterns is a solid sign that something is causing you to be in an uneasy state of mind.
* At the conclusion of each day, try to engage in calming activities that can assist you in getting into a restful state of mind. Meditation, a relaxing bath, and even laughing are all recommended. If your sleep problems continue, you should consult your doctor for more advice.
2. Mood fluctuations on a regular basis. pause for a moment to reflect on the events of the past few days and how you dealt with each circumstance that you encountered What happened? Did you manage everything in your normal cool, collected, competent manner? If this is not the case, you may be suffering from stress-related disorders.
* Frequent mood swings, especially if your mood has shifted from frustration, anger, and irritation to defensiveness, impatience, and overreaction, are a strong indication that you are suffering from stress.
Other emotions and states of mind to be on the lookout for are as follows:
- Irrationality in dealing with decision-making
- Restlessness and anxiety
- Helplessness with activities you can typically perform on your own
- Irrationality in dealing with decision-making
3. Excessive nervousness. When you begin to exhibit physical indicators of nervousness, it’s likely that something is causing you to feel stressed out in the background of your life. Here are some symptoms of nervous behavior that you should be aware of and address in a way that identifies the source of the problem.
The following behaviors are common:
* Excessive talkativeness
* Teeth grinding
4. Feelings of indecision and bewilderment. The likelihood that you are suffering from stress increases if you are unable to think things through with a clear brain on a regular basis. While you are stressed, you feel out of control and overwhelmed, even when dealing with situations that you are ordinarily confident in handling.
Aches and pains aren’t the only signs of poor health all of the time. Stress can have a cascading impact on one’s health, resulting in major health problems. In order to benefit yourself, it is critical that you pay attention to your needs and take the steps necessary to lessen your stress.
You could start by incorporating a few different types of meditation into your daily routine (e.g., loving-kindness, mindfulness) and see how they impact your chronic stress levels when combined. To get the most out of any strategy, try meditating in the early morning so the effects can last throughout the day.