There is much research evidence pointing in the direction of meditation and the word on the street at the moment is mindfulness also a form of meditation. The benefits of meditation are many including stress management, anger management, creativity, productivity, calmness, clear thinking, relaxation, lower blood pressure, anxiety relief and reduced risk of heart disease to name a few.
I could go on and on being a convert myself; I have gone from thinking that meditation is a hippy, cult or religious practice to meditating twice a day for twenty minutes. To the extent of gaining such value from this practice that I am now teaching meditation to others as part of my coaching practice. What made this shift for me was working with my coaching clients and uncovering their levels of stress and not knowing how to deal with this.
- 44% of us suffer from stress.
- Stress & anxiety are the two major conditions for sick leave in Britain today.
- The cost to the British economy is in the region of £6 billion on sick leave alone.
Yes you might be thinking that stress is good and that you do your best work when you are under pressure and in stressful situations. However the stress that I have described above is not that short time stress that gives you the short-term adrenaline rush to perform. I am talking about long-term stress that prevents us from thinking straight. This stress leads to irrational thinking, poor decision making, poor judgement, increase in blood pressure etc.
Further facts about stress – our bodies are designed to respond to threating or dangerous situations by having a fight or flight response. In this situation stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline are released as well as glucose and fats for an increase in energy. There are changes in the functioning of the whole body as blood pressure rises and muscles tense up resulting in a heighted emotional response.
How can meditation help?
Research has found that when we meditate we go into a ‘restructuring state’ – deep rest opposite of the fight or flight state (Meditationtrust.com). Furthermore, physiological indices of stress are found to be lower in meditators in comparison to non-meditators (DW Orme-Johnson, 1973). In 2010 a study conducted by Lazar et al in which the researchers scanned the brains of volunteers before and after meditation. The results suggested that changes occurred in two areas of the brain the hippocamus (memory) that had grown and in the amygdala (brains response to stress) that had shrunk.
In my coaching practice 80% of my clients who have come to be coached for professional reasons such as career development, confidence and work performance have had an issue of stress. I have found that by incorporating just 15 minutes of meditation into their daily routine has made a significant difference to them.
For more information log on to www.avidcoaching.co.uk