How Men Can Overcome the Daily Grind and 5 Reasons to Meditate - Below
Modern life can be incredibly stressful and demanding. According to the American Institute of Stress, Americans are 20 percent more stressed than everyone else. For many, managing their workloads, health, relationships, and everything else has become a juggling act. People have too-full plates and commonly feel overwhelmed, burdened, burned out, and demotivated by it all.
If you can relate, you should change your lifestyle to make it more sustainable. It’s the only way to avoid burnout, not to mention you deserve to feel happy and fulfilled. Below, Talking About Men’s Health offers some suggestions on how to make the daily grind more manageable and sustainable:
Find Ways to Relieve Stress
Some amount of stress is unavoidable, but it can and should be managed. Pent-up stress can be incredibly harmful to your body. You should fill your day up with activities that relieve stress. Some examples are taking breaks, going on mini-walks, going out in nature, daydreaming, meditating, listening to music, playing games, and practicing art therapy.
Research Ways to Improve Your Sleep Habits
The amount – and quality – of sleep you get has a massive impact on your energy levels, mood, and health. Insomnia is a common complaint for many. If you have trouble sleeping, you should look into ways to sleep better. Suggestions include creating a pre-bedtime routine, avoiding screens in bed, reading a book to relax, and avoiding food before bedtime. The CDC offers more sleep guidance.
Pick up a New Exercise Routine
Working out regularly helps you to tune your body and mind. Staying in shape will fill you up with energy, making it easier to get through your day. Also, being physically tired can help you fall asleep quicker. If you don’t have an exercise routine already, it’s easy enough to pick one up – you can download health apps or check the internet for advice. Working out at home to save time is always an option.
Make Your Home Comfortable
Your home can be a haven or a source of stress. If your space is disorganized, full of clutter, and unclean, it’s going to make you feel uncomfortable and stressed out. Clean, beautiful, organized spaces, on the other hand, can uplift your mind and spirit. As such, clean often and reorganize your space to promote a better flow of energy. Consider painting your walls a soothing color, let in more natural light, and get a few potted plants.
Stay Connected to Friends and Family
Having strong relationships is key to feeling supported and motivated. If you have enough good people in your life, you may not even feel the daily grind. As such, it’s a good idea to spend time with friends and family. If there are toxic people in your life, limit your interactions and learn strategies to manage conflict.
Embark on a New Fulfilling Career
Your career is a source of satisfaction, recognition, and wealth. If you’re not satisfied with how things are currently, it may be time to move in a new career direction. You could conceivably go back to school to pick up a degree and land a new job or promotion. For instance, enrolling in an MBA program could allow you to develop your knowledge of business, strategy, and management. It could also teach you in-demand skills like leadership, self-awareness, and self-assessment. You could learn online in your spare time.
Learning how to master your day is key to navigating the daily grind. If you can put your time and energy to good use, you’ll be able to tend to all your obligations and still have enough time to care for yourself and pursue the things you enjoy. Some experimenting may be necessary to find the right life balance for you.
Five Amazing Benefits of Meditation and Mindfulness
While ultimately rooted in the religious practices of East Asia, meditation and mindfulness are essentially the cultivation of a positive and tranquil mental state via focused periods of practice. Just as your body needs nutrition and exercise to function properly, so too does your emotional center and state of mind require special tools for their maintenance. While their origins lie in theology and spiritual study, both meditation and mindfulness have been linked to measurable benefits for adults regardless of their metaphysical or philosophical inclinations.
One of the key concepts to meditation is its understanding of the relationship between the physical body and its more ephemeral moods and processes. As exemplified by the concept of chakras (see the chakra chart here for more information), emotional and spiritual states are linked to physical centers of the body and real biological processes, a fact supported by meditation and mindfulness’ impact on anxiety.
While it varies by individual, mindfulness reduces anxiety in patients in as little as eight weeks of practice. This not only includes the mental aspects of anxiety, but also physically measurable symptoms like blood pressure, quality of sleep, jaw clenching, and chronic headaches. This further shows the link between the emotional or spiritual states meditation attempts to treat and their physical manifestations.
Rumination, or the constant focus on the negative symptoms you’re experiencing, is one of the most difficult challenges for psychologists to treat. Because it forcefully captures the patient’s attention, it essentially creates a self-feeding loop in cases of depression by preventing patients from turning their minds towards solutions.
This can make traditional, cognitive-oriented treatment methods ineffective because patients are simply unable to apply the behavioral changes and coping skills needed to combat depressive episodes. Practicing intensive mindfulness over a period of 10 days has been demonstrated to not only reduce depressive symptoms, but more importantly, helped patients to ruminate less on these symptoms and therefore work more effectively towards rehabilitation.
While neuroscience has advanced significantly with the advent of better scanning and monitoring tools, it’s an understatement to say that the brain is only dimly understood. Nutrition, environment, mood, inherent talent, and other factors all play a role in determining the acuity of your cognitive faculties. While plenty of questions remain, what is understood is that meditation’s ability to positively impact mood also translates beyond emotional states, directly impacting how the brain functions. Students who regularly practice mindfulness are more capable of creative thinking and problem solving, a fact which has been replicated under lab conditions with cognitive testing.
Lower Blood Pressure
Independent of diet or genetic factors, one of the strongest causes of high blood pressure is stress. Whether from schoolwork or the office, young adults and seniors alike are subject to the same cardiovascular risks that years of untreated hypertension causes to the arteries of the heart. Because of its ability to reduce anxiety and increase your mind’s ability to intellectualize and cope with stressful events or circumstances, regular meditation can help naturally lower blood pressure caused by stress. While it might not be a substitute for medication or dietary changes in those with a genetic predisposition, for some patients simply lowering stress is enough to bring blood pressure back down to healthy levels.
College students know better than anyone that attentiveness, whether while studying alone or in the classroom, is often in short supply. Even with a placid, secluded environment and limited distractions, it’s common for young adults to struggle with focusing on necessary tasks while ignoring intrusive or distracting thoughts.
Regular practitioners of mindfulness and meditation have been shown to not only possess improved memory, but also the ability to ignore trivial or unrelated details. This is because meditation lowers stress responses like hypervigilance, an anxiety-related sensory issue that forces sufferers to apply equal attention to otherwise unimportant stimuli. Its ability to improve creative thinking and problem solving also plays a role, enhancing the sort of novel thinking required for engaging with difficult material.
While there’s ample evidence for the benefits of meditation and mindfulness, the only way to experience them is to take up the practice yourself. Meditation requires minimal time investment, no equipment or personal talents, and can be learned regardless of age or ability. Set aside a few minutes a day for mindfulness and meditative practices and you may be surprised at the positive impact it can have on your mental and physical health, cognitive ability, and overall wellbeing.