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Learning to meditate to reduce stress and improve health

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The American lifestyle is riddled with stress from trying to do it all to working in jobs that stretch our patience to the limit. In fact, according to EnMast, an online community for business owners, work causes stress for 83 percent of Americans, leading to decreased productivity, lack of focus and memory problems. While most of us take it for granted that stress is normal part of life that cannot be avoided, there are some things you can do right now to reduce stress in your life. One effective way to reduce stress is meditation.

So, What is Meditation?

You may think that meditating is just for monks or highly-evolved souls who seek the mysteries of the universe, but the truth is anyone can learn to meditate.

  • Meditation is little more than a fancy word for learning to sit quietly and still the mind. If you have shied away from meditating because it sounds intimidating, push that thought from your mind.
  • The simplest form of meditation involves sitting in a calm, peaceful place where you will not be interrupted and focusing on your own breathing. This helps you to calm the mind and relax the body, reducing the stress of everyday life. Once you master the art of meditating quietly you can move on to more advanced techniques, but for now, all you need is a quiet place, comfortable clothes and some uninterrupted time to meditate.
  • It is important to note here that meditating does not need to last for hours. You can meditate for five minutes or 20 depending on your level of comfort and the time you can devote to uninterrupted meditating. If you’ve been putting off learning to meditate because you thought you didn’t have enough time, you were mistaken.

Meditation in Three Easy Steps

Meditation doesn’t involve complicated rituals, special clothes or sitting like a yoga master. Here’s how to do it.

  • Sit in a comfortable chair. There is no need to assume the lotus position. Simply sit erect in a position that is comfortable for you.
  • Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Feel the air move in and out of your body. Some recommend envisioning the breath entering the body at a point slightly above the navel, while others prefer to visualize breathing through the third eye. Use whatever method feels comfortable to you.
  • Gently push away any thoughts or worries that try to intrude. Just let them come and go. This is natural and will decrease as you become more attuned to meditating.

Meditation does more than just reduce stress. It increases alertness, slows aging, reduces blood pressure and works better than morphine to control pain, says the Huffington Post. So, when the stress of life and work starts getting you down, why not spend a few minutes every day learning to meditate and find out for yourself what all the hype is about.

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