World Meditation Day
World Meditation Day is a call to the world to take time to participate in this millennia-old practice and clear our minds, remembering that we are people first, and workers second. Meditation aims to connect the mind and the body. Its purpose is to help increase physical and mental peace and calm, which also helps people learn how to live more fully and remain present in the moment.
Encouraging mindfulness in the workplace can reduce employees’ stress levels while boosting creativity, focus, and productivity. So organizations should consider how they might use World Meditation Day to educate their teams on the struggles of stress and introduce ways to help them deal with it more effectively.
A common misconception is that mindfulness meditation involves not thinking — but completely erasing all thoughts is impossible. Instead, learning how to meditate is about being able to redirect your thoughts when you get distracted, and come back to your breath rather than be carried away by distractions.
Once you’re able to do this while practicing mindfulness meditation, the skills can translate to daily life, and you’ll be able to stay more fully present for any activity, whether it’s dog walking, dishwashing, or something else.
By improving your ability to focus at the moment, what you’re actually doing is training the brain to become less affected by stress. According to the American Psychological Association, mindfulness meditation improves emotional regulation in the brain by decreasing amygdala reactivity. The amygdala is the part of the brain that controls the “fight or flight” response. By regulating this stress response, you may be able to limit anxiety, reduce depression, and improve self-control.
Meditation first began to be of interest in the West in the 1700s, when some of the Eastern philosophy texts, containing references to meditation techniques and practices, were translated into different European languages. It plays a prominent role in many religions worldwide, especially Buddhism and other Eastern faiths, but is also practiced by those who are neither spiritual nor religious as a way of easing stress and clearing their mind.
In today’s world meditation is vital regardless of whether you’re a spiritual person or not, the frantic hustle and bustle of daily activity prevent many of us from ever having a moment’s peace.
The Upanishads – A collection of religious and philosophical texts from India, assumed to have been written between 800 and 500 centuries BCE.
The Bhagavad Gita – A Sanskrit scripture made of 700 verses that form part of the Mahabharata: a Hindu epic detailing the narrative between Pandava Prince Arjuna, and Krishna.
The Buddhist Sutras – Scriptures that are assumed to be the oral teachings of the Buddha.
Helping with anxiety
Across the world, anxiety remains one of the leading mental health conditions. Although in severe cases doctors may prescribe medication to help people with their anxiety, they often tend to try a more holistic approach first. Meditation is one of the most common holistic ways to treat the symptoms of anxiety, helping individuals to slow their heart rate, control harmful thoughts and prevent anxiety episodes.
There’s no doubt that the world we live in can be stressful. Although stress is a completely normal bodily response, we shouldn’t be feeling stressed regularly as constant stress can cause serious problems in the body. Meditation is a great way to take time out from the busy world and to focus inwardly on yourself. The breathing exercises conducted while meditating can reduce blood pressure and lower stress levels, calming the mind and giving the body time to recover from periods of prolonged stress.
The human brain has more things than ever to keep up with and these combined with the internet and our access to smartphones mean that many of us struggle with concentration. Practicing meditation and mindfulness encourages you to think about the present, live in the current moment, and dismiss distractions, helping you to remain focused when you need to be and improving your overall productivity.
For your own International Meditation Day celebration, you can find a place where you feel at your best, relaxed, confident, and loved. It can be in the bath, at the gym, or even looking at the sunset or an ocean or forest. The next step is to simply put yourself in a comfortable position, slowly close your eyes, breathing steadily, and show all the negative thoughts the door, away from your mind.
Whatever you choose to do to celebrate Worldwide Meditation Day, just keep in mind that Meditation is most beneficial when you practice it regularly. So, why don’t you set a reminder to meditate once a day, every day for a few minutes for the rest of the week, and see how you feel.