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"Tis the Season to...Meditate? Almanac of Arlington Heights October 2010 By Dr.Kevin
by Kevin O'Hara D.C.
Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love! ~Hamilton Wright Mabie
Ok, now that the holidays are upon us lets talk about you and your stress level for a moment. First of all what is it? Stress is a normal physical response to events that make you feel threatened or upset your balance in some way. What can it do? Aches and pains Diarrhea or constipation, nausea, dizziness, chest pain, rapid heartbeat, heart disease, high blood pressure, loss of sex drive, frequent colds, memory problems, inability to concentrate, anxious or racing thoughts, constant worrying... Do I need to go on? Stress affects your entire body, globally. Constant stress affects every bodily system. You are not supposed to be in a" fight or flight" response for long periods of time. Without going into a dissertation of the biomechanical or molecular changes that stress induces, lets just agree that it is bad, and bad for you. Okay? Good. Now lets talk about a simple little act that when dissected is not so simple. Meditation. Before you get all crazy about this "new age" mambo-jumbo let me stop you right here. Meditation has been around for thousands of years and it works. Period. It works, calms you and gives you a better prospective on your own life. It doesn't have to be coupled with any religious belief system although it has been proven time and again that those who are spiritually aware live longer happier lives. So, meditation sounds a little scary. The actual practice of meditation may be intimidating at first, especially when you become aware of your actual thoughts, but it doesn't have to be. It's simple. Zazen meditation is sitting meditation in the Zen tradition. This style of meditation practice (because you have to practice it to become good at it) brings body, breath and mind into harmony and in the process calms you to the core. You start in a simple seated, erect posture. Now become aware of each breath entering your body through a quite and relaxed tummy. Now deeply breathe through the nose and count one through ten with each exhalation. It's that simple. Close you eyes, relax and breathe. When was the last time you took in enough air to bring your lungs to capacity? I bet a long time. So now let your thoughts wonder, acknowledge them but let them go. Don't dwell on them, let them dissipate. Don't follow them, release them. Concentrate on your breath…in deep, out slow…. Wrap your thoughts, your stress, and your concerns in air and exhale them out of your being. Get off the hamster wheel of thought, stop chasing them. This takes practice but if you can get to even five seconds of absent thought you will feel an enormous difference in your life. So just think what several minutes or an hour will do for you. Remember it's called a practice for a reason. Try it, you won't be disappointed and let me know how it goes.
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