The Importance of Meditation for Your Stress

America is a stressed-out nation. In fact, the American Psychological Association says more than three-quarters of Americans feel stressed out at least once a month, and many of them feel stressed far more frequently. 

The effects of stress are far-reaching, and when you experience stress on a regular basis, you can wind up suffering from an array of related health problems. Managing stress is essential for your well-being, but that’s a goal that’s not always easy to reach.

Meditation is a time-tested method for reducing stress — one that’s been around for thousands of years. Numerous studies show the value of meditation for managing stress — but again, learning how to meditate successfully can be difficult to do on your own.

At Columbia Internal Medicine in Castleton, New York, Padma Sripada, MD, helps patients learn practical ways to manage stress through meditation, deep breathing, and other simple approaches. Here, she explains the importance of meditation and stress management in helping you feel better.

The problem of stress

Your body is programmed to respond to stress. Acute stress is part of your fight-or-flight response that helps protect you from danger. In small doses, stress can also help motivate you to perform certain tasks, like studying for an exam or steering your car away from a potential accident. 

But while your body is equipped to deal with minor stresses that occur irregularly, chronic stress is a completely different matter. Many people experience some level of stress all day long, and over time, the effects of chronic stress can wind up causing serious health problems, such as:

Learning to manage stress is essential for lowering these risks and for improving your overall quality of life.

Meditation: Natural stress management

Many people turn to medications to control stress levels or to treat the problems associated with stress. While medication can be helpful in managing some issues, long-term use of medication can result in other side effects. Plus, some drugs used for stress management may lead to dependency.

Meditation is a natural way of controlling stress, and with a little practice, it’s a method that’s available to everyone, in every stage and every walk of life. Meditation teaches you how to turn off negative thinking through deep concentration. 

The way you achieve that concentration can vary. Some people concentrate while they focus on an object, like a candle flame; others may close their eyes and focus on repeating a phrase or mantra aloud or to themselves.

No matter what technique you use, the goal is the same: Reduce negative thinking and worry — the two major causes of chronic stress. Meditation is an important tool in stress management that has numerous benefits.

Learn how meditation can help you

Meditation isn’t difficult, but it does take practice. Dr. Padma helps men and women learn the keys to successful meditation and other mindfulness techniques so they can unlock the health and lifestyle benefits. To learn how meditation can help you, contact Columbia Internal Medicine and schedule a consultation.

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