MINDFULLNESS: Take a Breath: Decrease Your Stress

With the increasing popularity of yoga in Oklahoma has come a newfound fascination with meditation.

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With the increasing popularity of yoga in Oklahoma has come a newfound fascination with meditation. Metro businesses offer guided meditation gatherings while cell phone apps and online courses are available to assist us find the time we need to be calm, quiet, and centered. 

For some, meditation is a religious practice and for others it is a way of life. Meditation is an ancient practice that originated from India 3,000-years ago.

The word “meditate” comes from the Latin word “mederi,” meaning “to cure,” while the Sanskrit word “medha” means wisdom. Combining both meanings results in the phrase “curing wisdom,” and allows us to
understand why meditation is one of the most important components of any quality health plan.

There are several techniques one can use to practice meditation, including concentration, contemplation, movement, breathing, walking, self inquiry, using sound mantras, and unstructured or wandering thoughts. 

The goal of meditation is to allow one the opportunity to be aware, mindful, focused, and accepting of what is presently happening in life in any given moment. A present mindset can be described with the following example: While driving you are suddenly cut off in traffic by someone who turns in front of you without signaling. Instead of swearing and becoming angry, you use meditation techniques to allow yourself to just be aware of what happened and grateful that a collision did not result from the incident.

In the example given above, the individual implementing mindfulness through mediation techniques replaced angry emotions with gratitude. 

Stress plays a huge role in our mental health. Worrying, being in a hurry and excessively competing are behaviors associated with episodic stress, or stress acted out through aggression and impatience. This type of stress is common and can easily be regulated with a practice like meditation. 

Because meditation changes the way in which your brain and body respond to stress, the practice has been praised for easing stress, anxiety and depression. 

Research has revealed that consistent meditation practices reduce feelings of fear, resulting in the practitioner becoming more rational. Hospitals nationwide are beginning to incorporate mediation into their treatment plans. 

Contributor: Tasha Timberlake 
Integrative Health Practitioner & Spiritual Mentor

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