Meditation is a mind-body practice originating from ancient religious and spiritual traditions.The practice of
meditation started thousands of years ago and first became popular in Asia with the teachings of Buddha,
who practiced meditation himself. Eventually, the Buddhist form of meditation spread to the Western world
and remains popular today. In meditation, one learns to focus their attention while trying to eliminate or
diffuse their stream of thoughts. This practice is believed to result in a state of greater relaxation and mental
calmness. Practicing meditation can change how one reacts to emotions or thoughts.
Meditation is used as a mind-body medicine. Generally, mind-body medicine focuses on two things: the
interactions between the brain, body, and behavior of the individual, and the ways that emotional, mental,
social, spiritual, and behavioral factors affect health. Meditation is used to help reduce anxiety, pain,
depression, stress, insomnia, and physical and emotional syptoms that are associated with chronic illnesses
and their respective treatments. Meditation is used for overall wellness.
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Some good coping skills include:
- Meditation and Relaxation Techniques: Practicing deep breathing techniques, the relaxation response, or
progressive muscle relaxation are ways to help reduce stress and induce relaxation.
- Time to Yourself: It is important to set aside time everyday to allow yourself to relax and escape the stress
of life. Give yourself a private, mini vacation from everything going on around you.
- Physical Activity: Moving around and getting the heart rate up causes the body to release endorphins (the
body's feel good hormones). Exercising provides some stress relief.
- Reading: Escape from reality completely by reading. Reading can help you to de-stress by taking your
mind off everyday life.
- Friendship: Having friends who are willing to listen and support one through good and bad times is
- Humor: Adding humor to a stressful situation can help to lighten the mood.
- Hobbies: Having creative outlets such as listening to music, drawing or gardening are great ways to relax
and relieve everyday stress.
- Spirituality actively believing in a higher power or divine being can have many health benefits. In recent
studies, it has been found that people who pray have better mental health than those who do not.
- Pets: Taking care of a pet helps distract the mind from stressful thoughts. Studies Show that pets are a
calming influence in people's lives.
- Sleeping The human body needs a chance to rest and repair itself after a long and stressful day. Sleeping
gives the body this chance so that it is ready to perform another day.
- Nutrition Eating foods that are good for you not only improve your physical health, but they play a major
role in your mental health. When your body gets the proper nutrients, it is better able to function in every
There are also negative coping skills which can hinder progress in dealing more positively with stress.
Actions that are harmful to both mental and physical health include:
- Excessive alcohol use
- Ignoring or storing hurt feelings
- Excessive working
- Avoiding problems
These actions offer only temporary relief, if any, from stress. Ignoring or covering up how you feel does not
solve the problem and the next time the situation arises, you will still have no way of dealing with it.
The next time you find yourself faced with a difficult or stressful circumstance, remember to practice your
new coping skills. These skills lead to good mental health and happier you.