One does not practice meditation to become a great meditator. We meditate to wake up and live, to become skilled at the art of living. -Elizabeth Lesser
Do you struggle with stress and anxiety? At times do you feel like you’re life is a little like a hamster wheel that you can’t get off?
Many of us living in the West struggle with a profound sense of tunnel vision. Our sense of possibility and potential is often eclipsed by the incredible stress and pressure of modern life.
A daily meditation practice, on the other hand, can actually reverse the downward emotional, mental, and physical spiral of stress.
Measuring The Effects of Stress
According to the American Institute of Stress, stress causes 60% of all human illness and disease and 3 out of 4 doctor-related visits are stress-related. Loss of sleep, overeating, increased risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes—these are just a few of the related consequences. The medical costs related to stress are astronomical, which is why many companies are starting to sponsor in-house meditation programs.
And what about the effects of stress on our brains? You may have heard of the hippocampus—it’s the the part of your brain associated with self-awareness, compassion, and introspection. It’s also associated your emotions and memories.
It turns out that the hippocampus “is covered in receptors for the stress hormone cortisol, and studies have shown that it can be damaged by chronic stress, contributing to a harmful spiral in the body.” In fact, people who suffer from depression, PTSD, and other stress-related disorders actually tend to have a smaller hippocampus. Yikes.
But all is not lost. Here’s a scientific angle on how meditation can help. According to a 2011 study at Harvard, the hippocampus actually showed “significant increases” in grey matter density among people who participated in an 8-week mindfulness program. Some researchers have even suggested that meditation can reverse the damaging effects of stress on the brain.
But let’s step back from the dire statistics and brain research for a moment. What about a simpler take on it?
Rediscovering the Art of Living
Where and how do we re-discover the art of living? How do we jump off that accelerating hamster wheel and re-establish some sanity, perspective, and wellbeing in our lives?
If you’re reading this, you probably know the answer already: meditation. I’m a huge advocate for the benefits of meditation. But don’t take my word for it.
The science and research detailing the health benefits alone stretch back to the early ’70s with the publication of Herbert Benson’s landmark book, The Relaxation Response. And more importantly, this practice has thrived for three thousand years. Why? Because meditation can open you up to a vision of life and being that’s transformative.
Meditation For Life
In this episode of the OneMind Podcast, we boil down our recent 3-day Meditation For Life seminar into a potent 3-part lesson on the benefits of meditation.
How can it help you break free from stress and anxiety?
What are the common pitfalls of meditation and where do most people get stuck?
And most importantly, how can meditation connect you with a positive vision of life that transcends the corrosive and limiting tunnel vision that colors so much of modern existence?
In this episode, we explore:
- How meditation helps you overcome stress and anxiety
- Why meditation is such an effective antidote to the pressures of modern life
- A simple technique to release stress and anxiety right now
- How meditation triggers your relaxation response
- Why and how so many of us are trapped in a self-limiting tunnel vision of life
- A short case study about Transcendental meditation
- Some of the key issues that keep people from meditating
- The three biggest obstacles most people encounter when they start meditating
- If you enjoyed this episode of the OneMind Podcast, you’ll enjoy our free How To Meditate Mini Course. Sign up here.
- Pick up a beautiful free eBook of meditation quotes when you sign up to receive our Daily Meditation Quotes