Heavy workload and other life situations can, no doubt, leave one vulnerable to stress, especially if the situation is overwhelming.
Despite many other methods and treatments that are recommended for alleviating stress, meditation is also one of the therapies that have been proven to help reduce or completely do away with stress.
This practice health practitioners say is one of the remedies that are recommended by experts to help deal with stress, depending on what brings about the stress in the first place.
Celestine Karangwa, a physiotherapist at TCM Technology Clinic in Remera-Kigali, says meditation comes in many forms and can be combined with many other practices to help heal someone experiencing stress.
Karangwa says one of the main benefits of meditation is its ability to reduce stress, explaining that the body's stress response causes the body to automatically react in ways that prepare one to fight.
In some cases of extreme danger, he says this physical response (meditation) is helpful.
He goes on to point out that meditation affects the body in exactly the opposite way that stress does, and that this is by triggering the body's relaxation response.
“Meditation helps restore the body to a calm state, helping it repair itself and preventing new damage from the physical effects of stress,” he says.
He also mentions that meditation can benefit your mind and body by quieting the stress-induced thoughts that keep the body's stress response triggered.
Sylvester Twizerimana, a psychologist in Rubavu District, says it’s believed that there is an element of more direct physical relaxation involved in meditation as well; therefore, this double dose of relaxation can be helpful for shrugging off stress.
He notes that with regular practice of meditation, there is a greater gain which is long-term resilience.
Meanwhile, research has shown that those who practice meditation regularly begin to experience changes in their response to stress that allow them to recover from stressful situations more easily and experience less stress from the challenges they face in their everyday lives.
When one is stressed, he says meditation helps one to re-focus their thoughts as well as redirect you to the positive things as well.
Twizerimana further notes that from a psychological point of view, meditation can give one a sense of calm, peace, and balance that can benefit both emotional well-being and overall health.
Karangwa says to achieve this kind of remedy is through meditation; one is always advised to focus their attention, which is generally one of the most important elements of meditation.
He explains that focusing your attention is what helps free your mind from the many distractions that cause stress and worry, and that this can be achieved by focusing your attention on things like your breathing.
In addition to this, he says that one can as well practice relaxed breathing, which is a technique that involves deep breathing using the diaphragm muscle to expand your lungs.
He explains that this is to simply help slow your breathing, take in more oxygen, and reduce the use of shoulder, neck, and upper chest muscles while breathing so that you breathe more efficiently.
Also, it is advised that finding a quiet setting also does wonders as far as using meditation to relieve stress is concerned.
“One can also practice meditation by sitting, lying down, walking. Something that is comfortable to them to allow them to meditate,” he says.
Experts also advise that one can make meditation formal or informal depending on what one wants.