Reduce Stress with Meditation
Posted by Jules Annen on
Zen friend: Have you ever tried meditation?
You: Yeah...I downloaded an app, did it for a while. I got out of practice though...
– I couldn’t find one I liked
– I haven’t found the time
– How am I supposed to meditate when I’m stuck at home with my kids?!
There are a million reasons NOT to meditate right now.
The world is in chaos, and the plans to arrange and handle it seem to change by the minute.
Many of us are stuck at home, out of our routines and out of our minds.
The routine disruption causes anxiety and uncertainty, and even the calmest people I know have been turning to stress-scrolling Facebook for two reasons:
1. To see what everyone else is doing/not doing, and 2. To stay ‘connected’ and up to date.
This type of nervousness is completely understandable and largely unavoidable. Anxiety and uncertainty are like the peanut butter and jelly of every crisis.
And with everything seeming to spin out of control, this is the PERFECT time to turn inward and take control of the one thing you actually CAN control: your reactions.
This, my friend, is why it’s the perfect time to start a meditation practice.
When the shit hits the fan, your nervous system lights up like your unsightly neighbors’ house in preparation for the holidays… you know the one- you can see their yard from space and it looks like Mrs. Claus and her elves partnered with a lightbulb company to spread joy to the whole solar system. Your nervous system reacts promptly and fiercely to stress, your nerve endings light up, your attention rushes away from your thinking brain and into your reacting brain, and your body poises for an attack. Put bluntly, you’re ready to fight the Coronavirus with a frying pan or run away screaming.
Now, we both know the virus can’t be beaten by your skillet (but maybe if it’s made with Teflon?), and you can’t outrun it to save your life, especially given the guidelines to stay in your HOME.
This stress response, then, is utterly useless. And furthermore, it’s actually harmful in prolonged doses of stress. Our bodies aren’t meant to be flooded with so much adrenaline and cortisol, and prolonged states cause weakened immune systems, and can lead to chronic conditions like Adrenal Fatigue.
Needless to say, unless you’re ACTUALLY fighting or running away, this stress response needs to be taken care of, pronto. Meditation does that.
Not only does meditation help curb your stress-responses, creating a practice around it can help you feel more in control. Humans are creatures of habit- and we associate our rituals and routines with normalcy and safety- so when your alarm no longer wakes you at 5:30 am, and instead you wake up to your kids screeching into your room wanting waffles, your days can feel like a rollercoaster you never wanted to get on. Bookend your days with a good routine, and meditation, even if it’s just for 5 minutes, can be a super-sanity-saver in otherwise crazy days.
It may feel like the chaos of the world and the disruption to your routines are nothing more than a crisis, and while that may be true, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t show you a little sliver of good that’s come from it. When everything changes, so can you. You’re in a unique situation, unlike anything you will experience for the rest of your life (hopefully). Experiences like this change our circumstances so drastically, that our brains are temporarily and forcefully opened up to a new reality- and we’re more susceptible to new ways of being. Boiled to the point: you’re primed for something new- the universe is practically demanding it. So why not try something different? Take up a new hobby, try out a new at-home exercise routine, discover what really matters to you, or take up meditation?
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