By Chandrama Anderson
Dear Chandrama, Everywhere I turn . . .Uploaded: Apr 21, 2014
. . . these days there is talk of meditation. My partner is pushing me to take a class. What's the deal?
While people have been meditating for thousands of years, research on meditation is still in its infancy. Scientific American Mind states that Goyal reports in January's JAMA Internal Medicine that Mindfulness meditation "helps with pain, anxiety, and depression -- the latter two as much as an anti-depressant."
Wow, I find that news very exciting, because while I do think anti-depressants have their place, being able to manage anxiety and depression without a pill and its side-effects is a tremendous boon.
Stress causes the hormone coritsol to course through our body, and is associated with many poor health conditions.
I do recommend that you take a class in Mindfulness meditation, and practice it for a while. And while you're at it, you may try being present in each moment. For example, if you're running or bicycling, feel the air and sweat on your skin, notice what you hear around you (birds, cars, squirrels, talking, etc.), feel your heartbeat, the ground or pedals under your feet, look around and see the details of where you are such as grass, flowers, dirt, concrete, clouds, trees, people, and so on; pay attention to what you smell (flowers, exhaust, eucalyptus). When your mind wanders back to work, come back to this moment. Do the same while driving, working, loving your spouse and kids, grocery shopping, etc.
Devices are wonderful tools, and they can take us away from the present. Random ideas may float into our head while we take a deep breath or two before getting in the car. We may miss those opportunities if our nose is down in a device. Make sure your devices work FOR you, not the other way around.
Meditation may not be easy in our high-success, fast-paced environment. A pill may seem preferable in certain ways. Unfortunately, many people stigmatize taking medication for anxiety or depression, yet not for high-cholesterol or other "medical" reasons. Meditation has no stigma.
And truly, being happy and healthy is worth it ? for ourselves and those around us.