There is a silent killer that consumes our society, on a daily basis, often leading to early death. Luckily, this thing that is lurking in our everyday lives can be managed incredibly easy, adding years of life back to you. If you want to enjoy more time with your family, doing hobbies you enjoy, or even traveling the world, these extra years added to your life are crucial. But to get those extra years added to your life, we need to look at what that silent killer is, and how you can cut it out of your life.
What’s Killing You?
The first thing that is probably coming to your mind is “what’s slowly killing me?” Whether you are someone juggling extra hours at your work, managing a family, or worrying about all the bills you have to find money to pay for, you are likely being affected by this killer. What is it? Stress. Specifically, chronic stress.
Managing The Killer
So I do want to say outright, that not all stress is bad. In fact, certain stresses allow us to push and become better human beings, both physically and mentally. Working out at the gym, learning new skills at a job, and starting your own business, all are forms of stress. These forms of stress force your body and mind to adapt and get better. The problem with stress, is that to adapt, you need to recover. This is where the ugly stepsister, chronic stress comes in. If you are always pushing yourself in the gym, don’t have any free time after your job, and are consistently worried about your business, this can cause issues. What was a positive and acute stress, can slowly beat down an individual, leading to chronic stress. This chronic stress, if not managed, is what contributes to numerous metabolic diseases, such as high blood pressure, dementia, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and many more. If you can manage chronic stress, you will add years to your life, simple from decreasing the chances of these occurring. Luckily, there is a completely free way to lower stress levels, that only takes a few minutes of your day.
One of the things that has changed my life so profoundly is daily mediation. Meditation has many benefits, including improved memory, improved cognition, improved focus, and of course decreased stress. If you have not meditated before, it can seem overwhelming. “Will I mess up? What if I do it wrong?” This are common thoughts that you may be thinking of. As someone who once started at 5 minutes of meditation a day, and has now built up to 30-45 minutes a day, I once had these thoughts. To simplify, all I want you to do is take some time to focus on breathing. That’s it. Sit, and breathe. This seem silly, but over time, it has a profound effect on your mental and physical health. Below, I am going to give a few tips to get the most out of your meditation practice.
Mindfulness Meditation Tips
- Do it right after waking up or right before bed (limits distraction.)
- Create a designated “safe space” to practice in your home.
- Use calming music or headphones to bring peace to you.
- Have candles or nice smelling scents when you practice.
- Place your hand on your stomach, trying to push your hand out with your belly when you breathe. This belly breathing relaxes your body even more.
- When breathing, make your exhale longer than your inhales. Taking a one second inhale, followed by a three second exhale, relaxes your body much more than if flipped.
- Find a comfy seat to sit on, that isn’t too “squishy.” You want to be comfortable, but not too relaxed where you fall asleep.
- Create a mantra or saying to repeat to yourself when breathing, to bring back focus when you lose it. My favorite mantra is “breathe” or “it’s okay.”
- Set a timer when starting out for just 3 minutes. Build up over time. Having the time alleviates some of the stress, knowing it will end at some point.
- Don’t underestimate the power of 1 minute of deep breathing.
- Use a guided meditation app or script on YouTube when starting. I have one here you can check out for yourself.
When starting, you will seem like you are doing something wrong. I promise you aren’t. It’s called a meditation practice for a reason. Don’t be hard on yourself, and know that even if you can’t stop thinking during your meditation, that is still extremely beneficial.
If you want to continue to improve your health and knowledge of the gym, regardless of your current abilities in life, you need to subscribe to our blog. If you don’t want to do that, feel free to check out this other article I created below, talking about ways to improve sleep, which helps decrease stress.
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