Meditation for stress: Helping Busy Moms Cope
Stress can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Don’t let it. A busy mom can get her stress levels under control while simultaneously learning effective coping skills without resorting to medication. The solution? Meditation.
Meditation is an essential tool in the war against stress. In the process, a woman lowers her blood pressure and reduces her heart rate. Meditation is a means of leading one to a state of awareness. During these exercises, an individual experiences bliss, clarity and serenity. Learning how to do meditation for stress is one of the best ways of helping busy moms cope, and can literally be a life-saver.
Don’t scoff. This is not hocus pocus or New Age quackery. Meditation works. It is one of the key paths to spiritual wellness. For those willing to try it, meditation has worked for thousands of years.
Stress takes a toll on the body
As individuals go about their daily routine they are flooded with a cacophony of sensory stimuli. Unfortunately, much of these stimuli cause a negative or overzealous reaction.
Every time a person gets distressed, adrenaline and cortisol are released by the adrenal glands. These hormones serve a valid purpose by responding to perceived threats. If face-to-face with a threat to your kids, the fight-or-flight reaction is a necessary reaction. It signals deep trouble and the need to respond quickly and with purpose.
When adrenaline courses through the body, blood pressure and heart rate rise. The result is more energy and the ability to think faster. The main stress hormone, cortisol, elevates sugar levels in the bloodstream and prompts the brain to make better use of glucose (sugar). Cortisol expands access to tissue-repairing substances in the body.
This is all well and good in a life-threatening situation because it saves lives; however, if a woman becomes this distressed a dozen times daily, her body suffers. When a person is permanently under stress, hormone levels are never normal. The body’s customary processes are disrupted and the body is damaged as a result.
Heart disease, digestive ailments, depression, obesity, skin problems, memory problems and sleep issues can occur due to unrelenting stress.
How to do meditation
Wear comfortable, loose clothing. Lay out a yoga mat or other supportive surface. Pick a quiet spot and proceed.
- Decide when in your busy schedule you will practice your meditation and stick with it. Nighttime may be preferable or perhaps meditating in the early morning hours is best. Whatever works for you is the time to choose.
- Don’t eat a lot of food before meditating. Don’t consume caffeine before starting your meditation.
- Decide the purpose of meditating, whether it is to relax, overcome emotional angst or to learn focus. Maybe it’s all three. Understanding the motivation behind meditation is necessary. Meditation assists a busy mom in overcoming troubling emotions and enables her to rise above what is bothering her.
- Decide where meditation takes place. It can be inside or outside. Select a peaceful area with no distractions.
- Incorporate candles, incense and music if desired.
- Inform others not to disturb you while meditating. This is “mommy time” and it should be respected.
- Enter your meditation space intent on leaving off-putting thoughts behind.
- Sit or lie down. Awareness of posture is essential. Posture should augment and not distract from the process. Some prefer assuming the lotus position or a variation thereof. Maintain a straight back, shoulders relaxed and put hands in the lap.
- Closing your eyes, breathe deeply through the nostrils, hold your breath for a long moment, and exhale deeply through the nostrils. Breathing clears the mind and calms it. Pay attention to breathing. Meditation is about awareness.
- Relax the mind but maintain attentiveness, which is challenging initially. Thinking will stop itself. Don’t try to make it stop. Sensations come and go as do images and thoughts. These are considered the waves of the mind.
- Instruct various body parts to relax staring with the shoulders. Tension tends to park itself in the shoulders. Instruct muscles and joints to relax. Keep breathing. Allow the face to relax. Release the tension from the body and the body is grateful.
- Visualize a place where you feel calm, comfortable, relaxed and happy.
- Give permission to the self to be quiet, relaxed, aware, still and at peace. Stop and figuratively “smell the roses.”
- Repeat a chant or the “Ommmm” sound if desired. Chanting Om removes distractions and fills the body with renewed vitality. When chanting, the body vibrates.
According to researchers, meditating for one half hour daily for two months uninterrupted alters the gray matter density in areas of the brain associated with empathy, memory, sense of self and stress (Psychiatry Researcher: Neuroimaging, Jan. 30, 2012 issue.) Additionally, researchers note that the amygdale, the part of the brain that is connected to stress and anxiety, experiences reduction.
In this hurry-up-and-get-it-done world, mothers, especially, seldom take the time for some TLC. Quiet awareness allows you to be present, here and now. Meditation stops the stampede of harmful emotions and other sensations of feeling overwhelmed, at least momentarily.