Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There!

Doctors have identified a new illness that is a particular consequence of living in our times and one that is becoming increasingly prevalent. They have labelled this illness ‘hurry sickness’. Its cause is living in our fast paced society and the constant rush to get things done. The symptoms are unmistakeable—exhaustion, irritability and anxiety.

One excellent way to counter the effects of ‘hurry sickness is Tai Chi. The slow pace of the movements and the gentle atmosphere in which Tai Chi is practised have a calming effect on the body, mind and spirit. No wonder it is called a ‘moving meditation’.

Have you every thought about practicing meditation in other ways? In

recent years, meditation, once on the fringe of society, has become increasingly popular, not least of all because of its positive health benefits. A five year study by a major health insurer found that those who regularly meditate have 87% fewer claims for heart disease and 55% fewer claims for cancer.

There are probably hundreds of different ways in which to meditate but a simple way that many have found useful is this:

First, you need a quiet environment in which to meditate. Ensure that for the time of your meditation you will not be disturbed. If possible, make your meditation space special, perhaps with some personal items that create a calming atmosphere, eg. candles.

Second, make sure you are seated comfortably either on the floor or in a straight backed chair. If in a chair rest both feet flat on the ground. Then ensure your muscles are relaxed. If you feel tension in any muscles simply tighten those muscles then release them gently.

The next step is to focus on your breathing. We relax ourselves by taking three or four slow, deep breaths.

A very important part of meditation is to have a mental focus. This helps to stop the mind wandering and aids in dealing with distraction. A word that suggests peace and calm is beneficial. Those of a religious background may choose a word from their tradition. Other words that are good are ‘peace’, ‘love’ or ‘ocean’. Simple repeat this word as you slowly breath in. Do this for a minimum of 10 minutes although it is good to aim at gradually increasing this to 20-30 minutes. Doing this each day will help bring positive health benefits.

So next time you are tempted to rush around doing too much, remember, don’t just do something, sit there!

Gary Stuckey, Adelaide


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