Yesterday’s Wisdom: “Om” your way to calmness.
Today’s Smart Strategy: Do something you love.
For some people, meditation is the secret to serenity, but for others, it’s a fast track to frayed nerves. In fact, in a study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 54% of participants reported feeling anxious while meditating! “There is no evidence that meditation ‘cools off’ the body’s stress response better than any other type of stress reduction technique, so you have to find what works for you,” insists Jonathan C. Smith, PhD, director of the Stress Institute at Roosevelt University. Anything that allows you to disengage from your thoughts can help you relax.
One way meditation works is by breaking the chain of everyday thoughts, which are often tied to our to-do lists and other stressors, according to Herb Benson, MD, director emeritus of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and author of Relaxation Revolution. While chanting a mantra certainly helps to quiet your mind, if meditating is not your thing, any repetitive activity that keeps your attention in the present moment, including jogging, swimming, painting, walking, knitting, or praying, will work just as well, he says.