Dr. Alex Chan N.D. Integrative Naturopathic Medical Centre Naturopath YVR
3 min|Dr. Alex Chan

Here's Why Meditation Improves Your Stress Levels


Meditation has gotten a lot of press recently

Perhaps this is in direct response to the busy and stressful world that we live in. Meditation is an age-old technique that is easily accessible and doesn’t require any specific equipment. However, it does involve training the brain to perform differently and switch out of a more analytical state into more intuitive focus. This shift in focus opens you up to increased creativity, reduces stress and improves contentment. When beginning a meditation practice this is like any new skill-you might not be very good at it!

Studies show that at least 15-20% of people can feel more stressed and anxious when they initially are trying to meditate. This may be due to the mind trying to accomplish a new task and the uneasy sensation that comes when you don’t know if you’re doing things right. As with other things, this new skill will improve with practice.

Most types of meditation share some common elements:

Focused Attention

This helps to free your mind from distractions that can cause stress and worry. You direct thought away from worry and instead focus on something specific like an object, image, mantra or breathing

Relaxed Breathing

Using controlled and even-paced breathing engages the diaphragm muscles and allows for good lung expansion. This improves oxygenation and activates the vagal nerve response that is related to relaxation.

A Quiet Setting

While you can meditate anywhere if you’re just getting into meditation it will be easier with fewer distractions

A comfortable position

Choosing a still and comfortable position will put more focus onto the task at hand

Open Attitude

Thoughts may come and go but meditation allows for space to be put between the thoughts and any judgement or stories we create about them

Three simple ways to start meditating are:

  1. Practice observation: try to watch your thoughts with a detachment and let go of judgement, just let the thoughts come and go. You are creating two distinct entities here: you as a calm observer and your mind which is the source of your thoughts. Disassociating these two can help reduce stress and pressure that we often conflate with the thoughts
  2. Sit in silence: listen to the silence around you. If it is too noisy try to distinguish the silence between noises This cultivates a difference sense of awareness and changes your relationship with your environment.
  3. Just breathe: inhaling slowly and calmly allows you to focus on the sensation of the breath and improves your awareness and intention for this automatic process
Sometimes working with a coach will allow you to find the best tool to calm your mind. Cultivating this ability is a great way to Biohack as it gives you more mental flexibility and better access to your intuitive mind.

Meditation has been a key part of my biohacking journey and I’d love to discuss this with you.

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