Meditation Myth #4

Meditation Myth #4

Here’s the cold hard truth…YOU really need to mediate. In fact, we all do. The reason is simple: we are stressed. Are we really that stressed? The Australian Psychological Society Survey on Stress and Wellbeing in 2014 discovered that one in four Australians reported moderate to severe levels of distress and almost one in seven Australians reported depression and anxiety symptoms in the severe to extremely severe range The American Psychological Association and the American Institute on Stress found in 2014, that 73% of people regularly experience psychological symptoms caused by stress, 33% feel that they are living with extreme stress, and almost 50% feel that their stress has increased over the past five years According to the Meridian Stress Management Consultancy in the U.K, almost 180,000 people in the U.K die each year from some form of stress-related illness The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States estimates that stress account about 75% of all doctors visit According to Occupational Health and Safety news and the National Council on compensation of insurance, up to 90% of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress-related complaints Why is it such a problem? Research has indicated that stress is a contributing factor in (and not limited to)… Cancer Coronary heart diseases Accidental injuries Respiratory disorders Cirrhosis of the liver Depression & anxiety Infectious diseases Ulcers Sleep problems and insomnia Fatigue and tiredness Back pain Headaches Obesity Diabetes Hypertension Poor memory Alzheimer’s Disease Osteoporosis Suppressed libido Memory & concentration problems How meditation helps Countless scientific studies have proven that meditation reduces stress. It triggers in the body...
Meditation Myth #3

Meditation Myth #3

Meditation is not the same as watching TV. During meditation, a particular physiological response is triggered in the body known as the relaxation response, a term coined by Dr Herbert Benson. The relaxation response is the process of de-escalating the stress response and inducing deep relaxation through the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system. In this state, the following physiological reactions begin to occur: Breathing becomes slower and deeper; Heart rate decreases; Blood pressure reduces; Slow alpha waves in the brain increase; Digestion improves; Stress hormones decrease; Immune system improves; Mental clarity heightens; Memory enhances; Concentration improves; Productivity is boosted; Muscles relax; Calm is experienced. You can understand why putting your body into this state regularly would be a good thing, right? Well it sure is indeed. Meditation has been an area of interest for researchers since the 1950s and even more so in the last decade . There are now thousands of scientific studies which all give evidence to the countless benefits that regular meditation has on our health and well-being. Some of the benefits of meditation include: Increased focus and attention; Improved learning ability and memory; Enhanced decision making ability; Increased productivity; Greater creativity; Improved ability to multi-task; Enhanced ability to process information; Decreased feelings of anxiety; Lower tendency to worry; Reduced anger; Decreased stress; Enhanced mood and emotional stability; Improved sleep; Higher longevity; Improved immune function; Increased happiness. It’s pretty mind-boggling, huh?! Put simply, if meditation was a form of medication, it would be being prescribed left, right and centre! So what are you waiting for? Reserve your armchair...
Meditation Myth #2

Meditation Myth #2

We need to get something straight here. There is no such thing as a ‘good’ or a ‘bad’ meditator. Thoughts are a very normal part of meditation. Research has shown that forty-seven percent of the time, we are thinking about something other than what we are currently doing. So, we can expect that almost half the time we are meditating, our mind will be wandering. What’s more, we have up to 70 000 thoughts per day. So it’s safe to assume that we will be having some of these thoughts whilst we are meditating. You are meditating correctly if: You are sitting comfortably; You allow your attention to settle on the focal point of the meditation (your facilitators voice, your breath, a mantra etc); When you realise that you are thinking, you gently guide your attention back to the focal point of the meditation. The key message here is gently. Since thoughts are part and parcel of meditation, there is no need to get frustrated when you realise that you are thinking. Nor assume that you simply aren’t good at meditation. You just acknowledge that you have thoughts, then gently give preference to the focal point of the meditation. And don’t fall into the trap of being too intently focused on the object of meditation either. This might result in concentrating too hard and ending up with a mild headache. Let go of all control. When you realise all this, you can then appreciate that meditation isn’t so difficult after all!...
Meditation Myth #1

Meditation Myth #1

The aim of meditation is not, and we repeat, not to think of nothing. Put simply, thinking of nothing just isn’t possible. The very act of thinking implies that your brain is actively engaged in cognitive processes, and nothing implies no thing is happening at all. The aim of meditation is to allow your body to repair itself. Why does your body need repairing you might ask? It all comes down to an interesting mechanism in our body called the fight/flight response. It is a response which is both life-saving and life-threatening at the same time. When physical danger arises, our brain does this wonderful thing where it prepares our body to either fight as hard as we can or flee as fast as we can: life-saving. What this looks like in real terms is a racing heart beat,  sweaty palms, upset tummy, flushed cheeks, and dry mouth. Sound familiar? That’s because it probably is all too familiar, and we bet you haven’t been in that many life-threatening situations either. You see, our mind perceives danger and it automatically triggers the fight/flight response. The key word there being perceives.  In today’s age, this might mean our boss using an undesirable tone with us, being stuck in a traffic jam while late for an appointment, or needing to speak in front of a crowd of people. Our body can’t quite tell the difference between an actual danger and a perceived danger so it responds in the same way. And those reactions we mentioned before were only the tip of the iceberg. What you don’t see is your digestion slowing down,...