Health/Beauty Mental Health/Wellness

Get a Grip on Stress! (Part 7 – Meditation)

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“I didn’t think HE was one of those ‘new age’ guys.”

One of my co-workers heard this from her friend following a lecture I did. The reason? I mentioned using MEDITATION to decrease stress.

Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t consider meditation as “new age.” In fact, it’s extremely old school. It’s been around for centuries, has over 1,000 published research studies touting the health benefits, including stress reduction, and EVEN OPRAH DOES IT!

If you think meditation is hokey new age nonsense, I feel sorry for you. If you want to learn about how AWESOME it is, keep reading!

Meditation is defined as “A self-directed practice for relaxing the body and calming the mind.”  There are many different forms that trace their roots to different religions and countries around the globe.

We don’t have the time or space to get into a lot of history or details on all of the different types of meditation. That’s what Wikipedia is for. This article will discuss just one of the amazing benefits of meditation…it’s been shown to improve your BRAIN WAVE PATTERNS.

Here are the four main brain waves, and what’s going on in your brain when that wave is dominant:

Alpha – Relaxed/reflecting
Beta – Alert/working, busy or anxious thinking
Theta – Drowsy, daydreaming, idea formation
Delta – Sleep, dreaming, dreamless sleep

You can see how having disrupted brain wave patterns could exacerbate the anxiety, concentration issues and sleep disturbances commonly found in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) and traumatic brain injury (TBI.)

Research done at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology showed that a nondirective form of meditation developed in Norway (Acem Meditation) increases both Theta and Alpha waves. HOW COOL IS THAT?!?! I bet you know lots of people who would benefit from increased Theta and Alpha wave patterns…maybe even YOU.

I don’t know if this applies to all types of meditation, but based on what’s known about the physiology of stress, I wouldn’t be surprised if it did.

Now you don’t need incense, crystals, fancy robes, or a foot-long beard to meditate. Meditation can be done by anyone, almost anywhere, almost anytime. You can go to classes, listen to CDs (for those of you who are 25 and under, CDs are round flat pieces of plastic that contain audio and are played on a CD PLAYER, you can find them both at garage sales or pawn shops.) You can even get meditation apps for your phone!

If you or someone you know is stressed to the max and what you’re doing isn’t working, try something different.  Try meditating…even if you think it is some “new age hippie thing.”

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