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How Meditation Improves Stress levels, Creative Thinking, Energy, and Success

How Meditation Improves Stress levels, Creative Thinking, Energy, and Success

Meditation has long been recommended to help with various issues that are just a part of life—or so you thought. Now is the time to listen to this advice and start practicing your meditation. It is just one simple task that can take as little as 30 minutes a day and can have lasting benefits when done regularly. It is about more than just clearing your mind—when the mind is cleared, it affects other physiological aspects of the body, leading to an overall healthier lifestyle along with lower health risks.

Meditation is best used when supplemented with medical intervention for more serious health problems. That being said, it will never hurt your health to practice meditation to cleanse your mind.

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Reduce Stress Levels

Chronic stress raises the blood pressure and leads to the constriction of blood vessels, depression, and even addiction. When the mind becomes calm during meditation, you become focused on your breathing and relaxation—which leads to a reduced feeling of stress. Controlled, deep breathing allows the body to produce higher levels of nitric oxide. This compound helps to open constricted blood vessels and will reduce blood pressure.

Decrease Muscle Tension

When you draw attention to varied areas of the body through controlled breathing, the mind will aid the muscles in relaxing. The technique known as Progressive Muscle Relaxation can be used at the start of a meditation session to tense and relax muscles throughout the body with mindfulness and purpose.

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Improve Heart Health

Individuals who meditate throughout the day will experience a reduction in the thickness of their artery walls—those who do not meditate do not experience this reduced thickness. This reduction of thickness translates to a lower risk of stroke and heart attack.

Up Your Emotional Wellbeing

Meditation can reduce the gray matter density in some areas of the brain that are related to stress and anxiety. Those who practice a specific type of meditation are less likely to get stuck on any one negative stimulus. Meditation will also decrease your levels of worry and improve three areas of compassion—compassion for others, receiving compassion from others, and compassion for one’s self.

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Enhance Immunity

Individuals that practice yoga and meditation experience an improvement in their mitochondrial energy production, resilience, and consumption. This process leads to a boost in the immune system as well as an overall resilience to stress. The health benefits of meditation include much more than just a clear mind.

Foster Creativity

“Open monitoring” meditation has positive effects for creativity and diverging thinking. This specific type of meditation consists of monitoring, but not reacting to, the content of the experience through each moment. Those who did this type of meditation seemed to perform better at tasks in which they were asked to come up with new ideas in a creative manner.

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Improve Positive Relationships and Empathy

Loving-kindness meditation helps the individual focus on developing a sense of love and care toward every being. One study has shown that practicing this type of meditation allows for the individual to better empathize with others through reading their facial expressions. Building up these positive emotions through compassion will help to increase personal resources, like a loving attitude toward one’s own self, a loving attitude toward others, social support, and self-acceptance.

Reduce Social Isolation

Loving-kindness meditation will increase the feelings of social connectedness as well as a positive attitude toward new people—both explicitly and implicitly. This type of meditation is easily implemented and can help to reduce social isolation and increase a variety of positive social emotions.

Reduce Risk of Stroke and Heart Disease

Meditation has the ability to significantly reduce the risk of mortality, stroke, and myocardial infarction in those with heart disease. This is because meditation lowers the blood pressure and changes other psychosocial stress factors. Along with this, it will reduce the risk of depression, premature death, and even Alzheimer’s disease.

Featured photo credit: VIKTOR HANACEK via picjumbo.com

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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