Are you spending too much time worrying about (pick one or several):
- job security,
- the financial crisis,
- global warming,
- your kid’s algebra homework?
Meditation is a proven antidote to stress, and the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) has a podcast (iTunes) (website) to help. Diana Winston, director for mindfulness education at UCLA’s mindfulness awareness research Center, narrates the short (3 minutes to 17 minutes) guided meditations, which can help you get started on regular meditation practice.
(I’ve been a regular meditator for years, and find that it adds needed serenity and perspective to help cushion life’s stresses, not to mention helping prevent my migraine headaches.)
If you’re curious about some of the science that explains meditation’s beneficial effects, check out this lecture by best-selling author, neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor (iTunes) (website), who narrates the amazing experience of her own brain hemorrhage. I was riveted by this dramatic story, which Taylor tells with self-deprecating humor and a sense of wonder.
Taylor’s stroke disabled the left side of her brain, the part of the brain that governs speech, linear thinking, memories analysis and planning. Instead, for long moments she was left only with the right side of her brain, the part of the brain that observes the present moment, and can give us experiences of wholeness, serenity and peace. Even in the middle of the horrifying experience of her brain hemorrhage, Taylor felt something akin to Nirvana.
Thus, you might theorize, the more you can turn off the constant commentary of the left brain during meditation, the more you will experience wholeness, serenity and peace.
Also check out this WGBH lecture by stress researcher Jon Kabat-Zinn (website).
The best health lecture on the Internet