By Sara Squires Davis, DPT, Point Performance
Meditation is a popular and proven method to reduce anxiety and stress that’s causing physical pain. Stress pain can be felt anywhere, but commonly in the back, neck, shoulders, jaw, and head, as well as hands, feet, gastrointestinal, chest, and other internal areas.
If the current news and your social media feeds are stressing you out and distracting you from your already stressful work day, try incorporating meditation into your daily schedule. It’s quick (10 minutes a day), easy, and relaxing. The effects are immediate, and through more practice, can impact your life positively.
What exactly is meditation? It’s a state in which the mind is peaceful, relaxed, and quiet. It’s achieved by sitting (or lying) quietly, in which the mind is free of distractions and stress. While it’s an easy practice to do, achieving this state can be difficult, especially if you’re used to having your mind race with thoughts and to-do lists all the time.
First, find a program or guided imagery to walk you through your meditation. Guided imagery is a therapeutic practice of having someone verbally talk about what to imagine, what to feel, and what surroundings to be aware of. To help you focus, it will also gently pull your mind back in from wandering. It involves deep breathing, which helps bring oxygen through the blood and into the brain. Meditation helps quiet your brain’s chatter, and can be somewhat challenging if you’re easily distracted or mind wanders often. Guided imagery is repetitious, so that after a while, your brain starts to focus on its own through the meditation, and becomes used to the practice.
Meditation either first thing in the morning or right before bed are both good ways to start or end the day. In the morning, it helps clear the mind and set the course for the day, while the evening helps reduce any clutter or stress from the long day and help a person get to sleep. Meditation on a daily basis is critical for maximum benefits, reduced stress, and more focus. Not only that, you’ll start to notice your body ache a lot less.
Need a program? Here are a few to try. Search on Google or download to your phone as an app: