The average American man works an average of 8.73 hours per day and according to a new study published in The Lancet, most men are also under “job strain,” or stressed out. The findings also showed that men who experienced job stress have a 29 percent greater chance of developing heart disease. Stress, which increases your blood pressure, could lead to a long list of other heart damaging side effects, researchers explain.
If you can’t control your workload, you can beat the harmful effects of stress by developing a simple meditation practice.
People who meditate have fewer doctor visits and can lower their blood pressure, cholesterol, and stress hormones. They have less heart disease, less depression, and increased confidence. They are calmer and for reasons still unknown, mediation seems to slow down the aging process.
Meditation is essentially deep relaxation. It’s a distinct way of learning how to be present from moment to moment and offers us a way to turn inward to find a calm and quiet place. Mediation is the awareness of the flow of reality, space and time. Unlike philosophy, which strives to achieve order through mental reasoning alone, mediation looks for a deep acceptance; a knowing that comes from the mind.
Like learning any new skill, mediation takes practice. Try setting aside five minutes a day at first, then after a few days increase your mediation practice to 10 minutes, then 15. Twenty minutes is proven to be enough time for the stress reducing benefits of meditation.
Here are a few simple steps:
- Find a comfortable place to sit. Make sure that your back is straight and upright so that your attention can be on your practice and not on the pain in your back.
- Set a time period. Like learning any new skill, mediation takes practice. Try five minutes a day at first, then after a few days increase your mediation practice to 10 minutes, then 15. Twenty minutes is proven to be enough time for the stress reducing benefits of mediation.
- Eliminate distractions. Turn off your phone, computer, anything that will ask for your attention.
- Set your focus. It is important to have a solid focus point – your breath and to have a word that your breath into and a word that you breath out. Perhaps breath into “So” and breath out to “Hum.” It really doesn’t matter what word or mantra you focus on, but you need to have something to return to when your mind gets hijacked with thoughts, and you will get hijacked.
- Begin. Close your eyes, set your focus, breath in and out to your mantra, your mind gets hijacked, release those thoughts and return to your breath.
- Develop a practice. Schedule mediation into your busy schedule and honor that daily appointment.