The main purpose of this program is to help you to understand and use meditation as a technique to gain the relaxation that may be missing from your life. But what exactly is relaxation and why is it important?
With its simplest description;
Relaxation is a state of mind where you are free from stress, tension and anxiety.
To understand why this is important, we have to delve into what stress, tension and anxiety actually are.
We are a highly evolved species. Or so we like to think. However, there are certain aspects of the way we humans work that is still in the days of ancient peoples roaming the plains, hunting, gathering and living in harsh and dangerous conditions. Our stress response is one such thing.
Stress is a natural response we have when faced with challenging and dangerous situations. It is part of the ‘fight or flight’ system that is designed to get us out of danger.
At the first sign of potential danger, this system floods our bodies with various hormones such as cortisol which is known as the stress hormone. In life or death situations, this is a great thing, it can increase our alertness, open up our perception, and boost our energy. All things we would need if having to fight off an enemy tribe or run like the wind to get away from a sabre tooth tiger.
In this ancient way of life, this stress system works fine. We get the boost in energy, alertness and perception and beat the tribe or get away from the tiger. The hormones are flushed from our system fairly quickly and life goes back to normal. However, in our modern world, this primal system hasn’t had time to evolve and catch up with life.
Bills to pay, demanding bosses and testing employees to deal with, idiots on the road, weirdos on the train, sitting that exam, waiting to hear if you got that job… To our primal brain, these are all tigers or enemy tribes circling, waiting to pounce. The stress hormones are released and can remain in that state for days, weeks or even years at a time.
The problem when stress is maintained for long periods of time is that cortisol is actually toxic to the body when sustained for long periods. It can cause devastating illness and disease and mental issues in the body. Elevated cortisol levels can increase tension and anxiety, be a component of causing depression, interfere with your ability to learn, reduce your memory, lower immune function and bone density, increase weight gain, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart disease and has been linked to many other nasty diseases.
For these reasons, managing your stress levels is an important aspect of any healthy lifestyle.
There are a number of ways to reduce stress, such as regular physical activities, social connection, laughter and having fun, listening to music you love and singing along (although that may increase the stress for those around you) and of course, meditation or mindfulness practices.