Is stress ruining your life? Are you constantly under pressure? If so, you’re not alone. More than 33 percent of U.S. adults feel they are living with extreme stress. About 77 percent experience physical symptoms because of it. Headaches, fatigue, low libido, irritability, and upset stomach are just a few of the many side effects of a stressful lifestyle. In the long run, stress can kill you. Actually, it’s a major contributing factor to heart disease, stroke, and chronic illnesses.
The good news is that you can beat stress through simple lifestyle changes. Meditation is particularly effective. This centuries-old practice can wipe away anxiety and stress, bringing inner peace. All you need is a quiet spot and some free time.
How to Fight Stress Naturally
According to a study published in Psychoneuroendocrinology, meditation alters psychological and neuroendocrine responses to stress. In layman’s terms, it improves your brain’s ability to cope with stressful events. By focusing on the present moment, you can train your mind and body to relax. This simple practice can reduce the harmful effects of stress and add years to your life.
Meditation helps in more than one way. First of all, it lowers the stress hormone cortisol levels, which in turn, reduces your risk of chronic diseases and mental disorders. Secondly, it relieves anxiety and lifts your mood by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. This explains why you’re feeling calmer and rejuvenated after a quick meditation session. Thirdly, it improves sleep quality and cures insomnia naturally.
How Effective Is Meditation, Really?
This healing practice not only relieves stress but also boosts your confidence and self-esteem. Over time, it may enhance cognitive function and working memory. People who meditate regularly have a more positive outlook on life and make better decisions. They also have a greater capacity for relaxation and feel less stressed when dealing with everyday problems.
Research shows that meditation actually changes the brain by decreasing activity levels in the areas responsible for self-referential thoughts and mind-wandering. Surprisingly, it’s just as good and even better than antidepressants, but without the side effects. Though it’s not a magic bullet for anxiety and stress relief, it can dramatically improve your quality of life.
It’s never too late to start meditating. Begin with five to 10 minutes of meditation, and work your way up to an hour. The key is to be consistent and make it part of your daily routine.