Relieve external stress by retreating inward

By September 25, 2012Press

September 25, 2012
Chicago Tribune | Jenniffer Weigel

Autumn — with its back-to-school obligations now and the holiday blitz looming — means back to the grind for many. How can we alleviate the stress that comes with all our “to-do” lists? Sarah McLean, author of “Soul Centered: Transform Your Life in 8 Weeks With Meditation” (Hay House), and director of the McLean Meditation Institute in Sedona, Ariz., has advice for staying focused without being frazzled. The following is an edited version of our conversation:

Q: You say meditation nourishes the nervous system.

A: Meditation is the perfect antidote for stress. It helps you develop a new sense of normal. When we meditate we shift our entire nervous system from the “fight or flight” mentality to what we call “rest and digest.”

Q: Some complain they have too many thoughts during meditation, but you say this is the body releasing stress.

A: When we have a lot of activity in the mind, it’s probably always been there — it just gets amplified when we close our eyes. This is the time our body takes the opportunity to release the stress that has been in our nervous system. Thoughts are one of the ways we release stress … and there can be a physical release or emotional release too. You might feel rage for no reason or a wave of grief or a wave of bliss or a wave of anxiety. Usually what that indicates is you are literally releasing that stress that you didn’t allow yourself to feel before. So let it come, feel it — and then let it go.

Q: How much meditating do you need to make a difference?

A: Just 10 minutes once a day will give you the benefits in your nervous system. But even 2 minutes is better than no minutes!


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