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Don't Let Stress Ruin Your Day

A healthy mind contributes to a healthy body and a healthy spirit. GreenCare’s focus on the link between health and wellness and a healthy environment is reflected in this article by Dr. Aravindhan Ravindran.

Dr. Aravindhan Ravindran is a radiologist at Abbotsford Regional Hospital. He has been practicing Heartfulness meditation for 20 years and teaches meditation. Check out the Heartfulness channel on Youtube.

This article is republished with permission from the original by Bonnie Irving, on the Fraser Health newsroom.

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Meditation is free, easy to learn, and a proven stress buster.

Take a moment to go through your day and see if something got you worked up. No doubt something did. A national poll shows that a quarter of all Canadians feel a bit, to extremely, stressed most days. You can’t get rid of stress completely – it’s the body’s response to a situation it sees as dangerous, and that’s not always under our control. However, how we react is certainly under our control.

Stress is well documented as a factor in various health issues, in particular, chronic conditions. As with most things related to health, prevention is better than cure, and one of the most effective coping strategies to deal with stress is meditation. 

Allowing yourself to centre inside and dive within gives you the time your body and mind need to relax and recover. You are likely to feel calm, centred and relaxed afterwards. This may vary for each person and may not be the same every day. Some may also find it energizing. There are many proven effects of meditation that enhance health, inner awareness and creativity. 

How to get started

  • Be willing to open yourself to the experience. You are more likely to appreciate and enjoy it when you approach without any expectations. 
  • Have a goal for the meditation session –peace, calming the mind, inner balance, for example. Interest and enthusiasm will help you achieve your goal.
  • Adopt a particular time and place to meditate to help achieve inner discipline and create a habit. It can be any time that works for you. A well-rested body will give you the best result. Meditating in the morning, for example, can set the tone for your day.
  • Sit up straight in a chair or on your couch or on a yoga mat. Be comfortable, but not too comfortable – too relaxed a posture will make you fall asleep.
  • Relax areas that may be holding stress – common areas include the shoulders, upper back, the jaw and the face. This will help you to slip naturally into a meditative mood. Try a guided relaxation technique to achieve relaxation. 
  • Close your eyes to help cut off the senses so you can dive deeper. 
  • Find a technique – guided or unguided – that helps you stay focused. In one technique, called Heartfulness (see Heartfulness Meditation below), the focus is on the heart. I use this in my own practice.  
  • Gently ignore the thoughts that will occur during your meditation. With time and practice, they will settle down and allow you to experience various states beyond thoughtlessness.
  • Keep your session short to start (10-15 minutes) and extend it gradually.
  • Keep a record or journal after each session to help you sharpen your awareness.
  • Be patient with yourself as you learn and improve your practice. Meditating with a trainer can be helpful as well.  

Purity & Harmony: The Heartfulness Meditation

  • Relax. Sit comfortably and close your eyes
  • Allow the breathing to be normal and calm
  • Gently draw your attention to your heart and look for the source of light already present in the heart.
  • There is no need to concentrate
  • Ignore the thoughts and try not to pay attention to them. If you are lost in thoughts, gently bring the focus back to the heart.
  • Stay in the heart and immerse yourself as long as you can

Check out the Heartfulness channel on YouTube
 


This article was originally published in the Healthier You Spring 2016 magazine. Read more stories online.