When best-selling author Deepak Chopra, M.D. was asked what is the #1 reason to meditate today, his immediate response was STRESS! Stress certainly wreaks havoc in our lives. We know, for example, that psychological stress is associated with greater risk of depression, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, sleep disorders, addictions, inflammation and infectious diseases. According to the Center for Disease Control, stress is linked to 70 – 90% of conditions treated by primary care physicians.
So what’s behind the stress epidemic? First, we live in a world of overwhelming tension and pressures. Many face unrelenting fast paced challenges daily. Couple this with the limitations of time, energy, and money and you’ve got a recipe for poor health.
We are not doing so well
The National Institute of Mental Health states that 18% of the U.S. population suffers with anxiety disorders, and 17% are at risk for major depression disorders in their lifetime. The annual cost of anxiety disorders alone is over $40 billion.
Aside from physical and mental health challenges, under chronic pressure and stress, we make poor choices and decisions. Under unrelenting pressure, the rational brain gets hijacked by the emotional brain. The stress response is vital. It mobilizes us to take such action, however we are not equipped to handle constant exposure to stress hormones.
We’re at our best when we alternate regularly between rest and activity. This is why, as Dr. Chopra says, meditation practice is so important today. It brings balance to our lives.
Meditation: a key to restore dignity to life
During the practice of Effortless Meditation™, the active mind settles down and becomes quiet. As this happens, the body begins to rest deeply. This deep physiological rest releases inner tension and stress. Positive changes are seen throughout our body including the brain.
In their book Super Brain, Dr. Chopra and neurologist, Dr. Rudolf Tanzi of Harvard Medical School explain that under chronic stress we become the servant of our brain and the quality of our life deteriorates. They encourage us to take back control to experience our “higher self.” Meditation is the best way.
The good news is that what was lost can be found. Meditation is a key to reclaiming not only physical and emotional health but the qualities that we all seek, happiness, love, and peace of mind. It’s all inside us.
A physician told me that for him, “meditation is like taking a mini vacation every day.” Continue to practice it daily and your life will become more vacation like. People report that they feel more content, find more meaning in their life, and are happier after adopting a meditation practice.
There are many good reasons to meditate. A large percentage of my new meditation clients agree with Dr. Chopra. They are drawn to meditation by their desire to reduce stress, and they are grateful to discover that it works. With continued practice, they begin to experience even deeper reasons to meditate as discussed here. They are enjoying an enhanced state of well-being that they previously didn’t know existed.