Yes. You know it works! Meditation, that is.
You’re exhausted. You are running on empty. You don’t have time to do anything extra in your day.
You’re just too busy.
You stay back at work later, trying to get everything done. Adding anything more to your schedule, your life, you think you would curl up and die.
When you get home, you’re so stressed out you just need a glass of wine! Now that helps you relax.
On the weekends you just flake out. You do your shopping and cleaning and cooking. And a bit of tidying. It’s just becoming all too much for you to handle. Work and Life.
Adding anything new would be the last straw!
Your job demands constant meetings, networking, up-skilling. You try to keep up with what is happening. You haven’t got any extra energy to do anything other than what you’re already doing.
Mary meditates. She says it’s just great!
Where does she find the time to do it?
You don’t even go out for lunch. You sit at your desk, still doing work.
You know you’re stressed. Out of control. But you don’t know what to do?
If they say meditation works, but you don’t have the time to do it because it would increase your workload, what can you do?
Professional career women are so busy getting their work done. They deal with the family and household. They are so time poor that adding an additional task to their daily routine, might well send them off the rails.
These professional women have heard it before.
Some of their friends and work-colleagues do meditation of some kind. They say it works. But when can they schedule this “new” thing in? Do they really want to? Are they trading off long-terms benefits in order to cope? Isn’t there a pill you can just take?
Accept it. Meditation does work.
Previously thought to be some mumbo jumbo of self-help aficionados, or the infiltration of ancient Chinese or Indian healing folklore, programs of meditation are widely available and, in fact, form part of the health and well-being programs of many savvy corporations.
It has gained a legitimate status.
If corporations are adopting meditation, it means there is serious evidence that it works. Or, that there are significant or measurable outcomes attached to this process.
Scientific studies indicate that there are actual, positive, measurable changes in segments of the brain, as well as changes in brain-wave activity.
They say it’s good for you. And, it can help you deal with stress and everyday demands.
Meditation can reduce levels of depression and anxiety and help people tolerate pain. How? Because it activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps deactivate the stress response mechanism.
There are many, many more benefits…
Meditation can boost memory and concentration and increase awareness. In fact, MRI’s indicate particular areas in your brain grow when you meditate.
It can help you become more empathetic. It helps you get along with others.
It helps you become more chilled, lift moods and lift your resilience level to be more positive.
Studies also indicate that it can take just weeks to retrain your physiology and achieve these positive effects.
It increases learning ability too. It can grow your grey matter.
Now who wouldn’t want more brain cells?
Meditation can decrease blood pressure and increase heart-rate variability. This means you will have more engagement with life. This also means an increase in blood flow and more oxygen feeding, and nourishing your organs and tissues and muscles.
With all of these positive things affecting our bodies/minds, and being scientifically proven, why aren’t all professional career women trying this out?
What is holding you back? Are you scared you might actually become happier, less stressed?
It’s interesting, though. Even when there have been endless case studies and thousands of people practising meditation, there appears to be a general reluctance to take up meditation.
If the evidence indicates that meditation, as a practice, has enormous positive benefits… and if thousands or perhaps millions of people practice this daily… for these positive effects, why aren’t the remaining millions or perhaps billions of people not engaging in this health-giving practice?
A 2017 study conducted by Brown University and the University of California in the US indicated that meditation can have negative effects, often called “challenging effects.” Some of these effects often relate to the resurfacing of pre-existing trauma or depression.
Because meditation requires people to actively engage in routine behaviour, not all people will be able to stick to a daily regime of mediation, even though the benefits are widely known.
Why? It may be too hard. It can bring up old fears. In fact, some people feel suicidal or depressed when meditating. There can be a sense of loss of identity, a sense of imbalance.
Although people who practise meditation experience many positive effects, studies have indicated there could arise several “challenging effects” such as:
· Perceptive issues could arise — illusions, paranoia
· It may prompt negative thinking — fear, anxiety, paranoia, mania, depression, grief, re-experiencing traumatic memories
· Loss of motivation — loss of enjoyment in activities
· You could damage a sense of self — loss of boundaries
· Social — difficulties interacting with people, you could become antisocial
· It can take a long time to get the full effects
· Sitting still, not engaging in thoughts is difficult for lots of people
And, there could be many more negative “challenging effects,” or downsides.
The research for the negative side was particularly concerned about people who have some mental health issue, such as: depression, anxiety or PTSD. Or with the fact that going inside and getting in touch with your feelings can lead to increased distress.
Knowing the above, and knowing that if one is predisposed to depression and the like, it might be useful to know what the current state of workers’ mental health is.
Did you know that 87% of workers are depressed: mild, medium or severe? (This is a cumulative figure — APS 2015 Study on Issues Facing Workers). The figures have been increasing yearly.
This means that a greater proportion of people have so-called “mental health issues” than was previously thought, even though they may be “mild.”
This, then, means that many more people who practice meditation may experience “challenging effects.”
Now, some of these 87% of workers will indeed be professional career women. If you are in high-powered positions and desperately exhausted, trying to get ahead, some of you will be depressed or anxious.
So, the reality of some of these women being able to sit down in a quiet place, with no distractions, and meditate for a time period each day, is beyond the pale! It is nuts to try and contemplate this scenario!
Professional career women know they’re stressed. They know they “should” be doing something about it. But they come up against two other constraints: lack of time — to do the job, to complete tasks, to fit in anything else into their daily schedule. And, lack of willpower.
You cannot possibly fit anything more into your day. You spend enormous amounts of time and overtime, mostly unpaid, trying to complete tasks you already have on your plate. Not to mention looking after the family, the household, learning new skills, networking, functions after work, and generally trying to get and stay ahead.
Where can these women possibly fit in this practice of meditation — sitting quietly, somewhere without distractions? Really, if they get up any earlier, they might as well not go to bed!
The final aspect for professional career women is that, although very clever at their jobs, they do admit to lacking the willpower to reduce their load. The pressures and stress of daily work life.
Why would that be?
Willpower takes a lot of conscious effort. Professional career women have built their working persona, adapted themselves to fit the mold of the corporate ideal. You have done this to fit it. To keep yourself “safe” in your job, in this environment.
It’s instinct to do this. It’s a survival tactic. It is a subconscious trait. The subconscious mind has the job of keeping you safe. It is thousands of times stronger than your conscious mind. Your conscious mind uses willpower in order for you to make changes.
If you, as a career professional, have built this fortress, as well as becoming very busy, stressed, depressed or anxious, the amount of effort, of willpower you would need to change your current position — how you operate in order to survive this job — would be enormous. Off the chart!
It would take too much effort to change because you are already too exhausted to do anything about it anyway. And mostly, you cannot add anything more to your day!
That’s right! Don’t bother doing it!
It’s too hard. Takes too much time. And. You can’t fit it in anyway.
There are millions more people who are not meditating, than who are. Perhaps intuitively, they know it’s not for them.
Perhaps they think there’s an easier way. Something they haven’t come across just yet. That will outshine, outperform, and be better than meditation, yet achieve similar results.
Something everyone can do. Regardless of whether they are depressed, anxious, have PTSD. Are exhausted. Have no energy. Have no extra time in their daily schedule. Have difficulty trying to control their day as it is — yet give the same results!
Yes. There is such a magical solution. That has been overlooked. Because it is so commonplace. So passé. Yet so useful.
Something that will overcome all of those objections to participating in it. Daily. Often. Doing it effectively, and efficiently. Without adding extra time to you daily schedule.
What is it?
It is…. “breathing correctly.”
Yes, that’s right. You read that correctly.
Learning to “breathe correctly” will give you all of the benefits of meditation, without the “challenging effects” of trying to slow your thoughts and delve inside your emotions… and all of that other negative stuff.
Let’s face it! You are breathing right now. But, you assumed you were doing it correctly because you are still alive. No one has told you any differently. No one has informed you of the untold benefits this simple function, if done “correctly,” can engender.
Imagine feeling great. More relaxed. Less stressed, anxious or depressed. Being focused. Having great clarity. Having the energy, you need. Done with exhaustion forever.
People accept that they are breathing and that’s that. They don’t question it. In fact, they do not even think about it. It’s just some automatic function that is necessary to keep alive. They do not think or know that it can be done better and be used as an effective tool to change your life.
“Correct breathing” as a tool for increased health and well-being is just not understood. Because of that, people continue to breathe the same way throughout their lives — mostly, ineffectively and inefficiently.
There are very few people in the world who breathe correctly. Those who do include professional athletes, trained singers, and some yogis or breath coaches.
They retrain the way they have been breathing for years, then and train in more productive methods so they can achieve the feats peculiar to their chosen profession.
“Incorrect breathing” arises due to the fact that people train themselves that way because the majority of people on this planet are stressed. They continue to react to stressor triggers on a daily basis, the same way they have done for years. Basically, they have trained themselves in bad breathing habits.
When reacting to a stressful event, people gasp for air. This gasping means that you are only getting oxygen into the top part of your lungs. This lack of oxygen further exacerbates your stress situation.
Oxygen is the staff of life, not bread! It feeds and nourishes your blood, organs, tissues and muscles. When you continue “incorrect breathing,” you are maintaining being stressed. And stress brings exhaustion, lack of energy, lack of control, diminished willpower ability and general lack of time to complete things or fit anything more into your schedule.
So, choice time!
When trying to introduce or adopt new methods of helping professional career women reduce stress or manage better, time is a big factor. You are already so busy. Flat-out.
If someone is time poor, exhausted, doesn’t have the energy, is barely coping and is moving into depression, you do not want to be “adding” to what you already have in their daily load.
You want to see what you are already doing and make tiny adjustments to what “already is.”
Simply knowing breath-management techniques and having a better understanding of stress can help build resilience. — Makiko Kitannawa
Breathing inefficiently and ineffectively exacerbates the stress response mechanism. It ensures your body remains in a stressed state. Adrenal overload. Increased blood sugar. Fear. Energy deflation. Exhaustion and a sense of running out of time, due to the central nervous system not being relaxed.
When you correct your breathing, you will eventually regain control over your stress response mechanism. This means you will be able to control your reaction time. When you are able to control your reaction time, in essence, you gain a sense of having more time.
When you perform “correct breathing” daily for several minutes, you will gradually build up your skill level. You will start to notice changes in your mind and your body.
“Correct breathing” helps get the body/mind back into balance.
Here’s how to do that. Breathe in for five. Slowly breathe out for five counts. You do this in periods of at least five minutes at a time, several times per day. The objective being, to eventually retrain how you breathe, entirely. This new way will be how you breathe from now on.
You will gain all of the positive benefits of meditation without taking up extra time, adding to your daily schedule, sitting in a quiet place, trying to be free from distractions.
Why not tweak what you are already doing so that it becomes an effective and efficient tool, rather than try to “add” meditation, an extra chore, to your day?
Do you want to continue down the path of being stressed out, being out of control, having no time, being exhausted and everything else we discussed? Or, are you willing to try “breathing correctly”?
We know meditation works for most people. Yet, you are not even doing that when the evidence is clear!
You are already breathing anyway. If you learnt how to “breathe correctly,” you would gain all of the benefits, and more, of meditation, without the possible, negative, “challenging effects” highlighted by researchers.
Why not tweak your most basic survival tool, and make it work better for you?
The beauty is that you can do this sitting, standing, walking, riding the bus or the train. Or even in your car when you’re driving!
Most of all, you will have more energy. Your exhaustion will disappear! You will be back in control. Your willpower will have been overridden without effort!
This is a win-win-win for professional career women!
Meditation will always fail for professional career women because it “adds” an extra load to your workday.
The key is, when trying to change anything/a bad habit, is to “subtract” or modify, tweak what you are already doing.
Imagine gaining all of the benefits of meditation just by “breathing correctly”!
So, your mission, should you so choose, is to try it!
Just try it!
Let’s face it: you are already breathing. Use it to your advantage. Learn to “breathe correctly.”
You won’t be sorry you did.
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