A friend recently commented that most people living in the cities are between one of three things – between jobs, apartments or relationships.
It’s an interesting observation and while it may not be true for everyone, there’s no doubt that for most of us things seem to be unpredictable and in a constant flux. Everyone seems to be grappling for some sense of security, be it in their careers or relationships.
Understanding Stress – The Natural Defense Mechanism
Like every other IT professional, I live a sedentary but stressful life. Since stress, anxiety and depression have become commonplace, especially in this industry, I decided to put my research skills to use and combat stress and anxiety with knowledge. After all, how hard can it be?
But I must say, when I started investigating I became even more anxious! I learnt that stress is the natural mechanism of the body to cope with and fight against danger in our environment. This is good news, right? Not quite.
It’s a problem because we experience it day after day. When we are under pressure, the in-built, natural growth mechanism stops and our mind and body switch to survival mode.
Now, it would come in handy if we were at war or coping with a natural calamity. But obviously that’s not the case. Even in the most mundane or civilized existence we live today, far removed from ferocious wild beasts or with no disaster or “grave danger” at hand, we experience the same level of stress, even in the most commonplace situations, whether we’re stuck in traffic or in the middle of an argument at work or home.
The Negative Effects of Stress on Mind and Body
When we undergo stress on a daily basis, it spells disaster for our nervous system, immunity, and mental and physical well-being – they all deteriorate. Over time, our performance diminishes because, although stress can bring out great results in a crisis situation, our body cannot sustain it for the long-term and it wasn’t meant to. It’s like running a car on full throttle for extended periods – eventually it leads to wear and tear of the internal parts. Likewise, our human system shatters from a continuous and extensive onslaught of stress.
You will appreciate the irony – after studying the topic I was even more stressed. So what is the solution? How do we tackle this monster that afflicts so many of us?
As many of us are wont to do, I approached my friends for guidance. Not unsurprisingly, I got the usual advice from close friends.
One said, “Join a gym and work out,” while another recommended, “Eat healthy”. Yet another said, “Sleep early and avoid drinking coffee,” and the list goes on and on. As well-intentioned as it might have been, the counsel offered me no solace.
I have tried all these so far but to no avail. Most importantly though, I know people who work out every day and seem no less stressed. What, then, is the key to a life devoid of tension?
Also read: Tips for a deep sleep
Sometimes, the simplest things are the most effective. In all of my research, one word kept popping up consistently: meditation. I decided to get into this wholeheartedly and joined some of my family members who practice Heartfulness meditation for stress relief.
How did Heartfulness Meditation help?
Personally speaking, I found that day in and day out, my attention had been drawn mostly outwards. Moreover, when thoughts were scattered, the power of thought decreased, and I would lose focus.
However, fortunately when I started meditating on the heart, in Heartfulness Meditation, my attention was directed inwards, and I gradually learnt to ignore my thoughts. And thus, the tendency to get distracted slowly reduced.
With continuous practice, my energy started flowing inwards and I learnt to retain energy naturally. My mind wasn’t wasting energy on unnecessary thoughts and stimuli anymore. Instead my heart started acting as a guide.
Try as I might, it’s difficult to put into words my stupendous experience; you have to experience it yourself to know what it feels like – it’s truly an ethereal feeling. I became very happy and content as my anxiety due to chronic stress started decreasing and my mind started functioning in a healthy way. It almost felt like new life was breathing into my body, mind, and heart.
Meditation for Stress Relief – The Ultimate Technique
Within three months of Heartfulness practice, I started noticing a genuine change in several respects. In terms of my emotional state, I find that I am more relaxed and happy throughout the day. With regards to my work, my performance has increased. On a personal level, I appreciate life better.
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that “the effects of exploring the subject of meditation are similar to how a thirsty person would feel when offered water”. Those of you who’ve never experienced the benefits of meditation for stress relief or eliminating depression may find this metaphor not just hard to relate to but hard to believe.
For this reason, dear readers, I would like to emphasize upon you yet again that reading about it is not enough! If you are thirsty, dive in, and take a drink. Experience it, and you will appreciate it better. Meditate, shake off your worries, enjoy lasting peace, and stay healthy.