How to find balance in a busy world with meditation
Fri, 28 October 2016
It’s undeniable – we’re living in an increasingly busy world. Rushing around having to juggle family, social and work demands as well as being constantly connected to technology means that living in the 21st century is extremely stressful. When we dive deeper beyond the busy-ness, we can see that the reason for this is due to our in-built survival mechanism called the ‘fight or flight’ response.
What is ‘fight or flight’?
This mechanism is designed to help keep us humans alive in the face of danger, and is an evolutionary hangover from our ancestors. It has retained its prominence in our lives, despite us not being faced with the same kinds of threats in the modern world. Instead of wild animals, our ‘fight or flight’ responses are being activated daily by emails we’d rather not receive, a loud car alarm in the street, spending too much time in front of a computer screen, or just screaming kids.
When this happens, an area of our brain called the amygdala is activated and floods our systems with hormones and steroids such as cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline. These make us feel tense and stressed – our breathing and heart beat quickens and our digestion becomes compromised in order to prepare us for ‘fight or flight’.
Chronic Background Stress
As a result of ‘fight or flight’, we sometimes experience a modern phenomenon called Chronic Background Stress. Our nervous system becomes permanently alert, and our mind and body are rarely given the chance to truly relax, rest and repair. We may find that we’re unable to think clearly, our sleep patterns have altered, we feel down much of the time, we experience digestive or weight problems, we become overly reliant on caffeine to get us through the day or we have simply lost our lust for life.
Meditation as a Remedy
So what’s the remedy for this sorry state of affairs? Meditation is in an incredibly powerful and natural way of counteracting the damaging effects of stress on the body and mind. The technique I teach – Vedic meditation – is one of the most ancient techniques in the world.
It is an effortless mantra-based meditation that transports the body into a profound state of relaxation. It allows our body, mind and nervous system to rest to such profound levels (33% deeper than the deepest point in sleep) that our innate intelligence begins to re-balance distortions in our systems caused by stress.
Our mind is able to build new, more positive and useful thought patterns that free us from negative feelings of anxiety, depression, anger or addiction. We become more productive as meditation allows the areas of our brain responsible for action to become coherent, making sailing through our to-do lists a breeze.
We’re able to act from a place of calm and become less reactive or affected by the small things. Our levels of stress chemicals such as cortisol fall by 25-35% and we begin operating from a more harmonious and centered state of being. In short, Vedic meditation brings our bodies into balance so that we are operating properly on all levels, both physically, neurologically and emotionally.
Cooking or part cooking your own meals is a good way of ensuring you are getting enough fibre and nutrients in your lunch time meal as well as preventing unwanted weight gain, extra expenses and irritating hunger pangs in the afternoon.