Tightness in your chest, pit in your stomach. Stress! Stress at work. Stress at home. What do you do?
Exercise? Eat better? Good long-term strategies.
What if it’s the middle of the workday and you’re on deadline. Head pounding. No time to go for a walk or to take a long, leisurely lunch break. Ignore the headache, stomachache, backache? Pop a pill?
Might work. At least short term.
It’s Monday. You’re at work. It’s noisy. You’re tense. You work in an open-office environment where sound reverberates off every chair, table and desk. Today, you’re not in the mood. What if, in the middle of your office, there was a pop-up meditation space, a “room” where you could wander in anytime and sink into a cozy chair and, for a few minutes, just breathe.
How are meditation rooms or quiet spaces useful in places like the Ronald McDonald House?
The Ronald McDonald House is a home away from home where families stay temporarily while their kids receive treatment at a local hospital. These kids are often gravely ill; and the parents are under tremendous stress. How could a meditation room help in this environment?
What if it were as simple as finding relief? What if the answer to increased productivity and creativity or better mood and stamina isn’t caffeine or drugs or green juice? What if it’s as simple as taking a step back and into quiet.
We’re all looking for relief from our relentless thoughts…thoughts about our impending deadline, job security, the kids’ grades, our stiff shoulder, the rent or the mortgage. The non-stop hum in the background is not just our open work space or the buzz of lawn mowers, it’s also, or more so, the highway of thoughts incessantly whizzing by.
Some of us find temporary relief in the No-No trifecta of drugs, sex and alcohol. Others choose extreme exercise or dieting as a patch.
Nutrition is such a big part of what we call wellness. We are obsessed with diet! But by now, most of us realize that there is not one recipe for good nutrition (pardon the pun). What works in one country, doesn’t work in others. One dietitian says eat mainly grains. Another says never eat grains. Many hail the benefits of a high-protein diet. Others say too much is bad. Eat vegetables but not the ones high in sugar. Last week Group X said drink 64 ounces of water. Next week Group Y will say drink when thirsty. Milk is bad. Milk is good. Red wine and chocolate have benefits, but not too much, not too often; probably better to just abstain. Our heads spin, and we rebel. We now have a new category of eating disorder: those obsessed with healthy eating, aka orthorexia nervosa.
If meditating is so good for us, why are many of us not doing it? Time, access, perception and education. We don’t believe that we have 15 minutes in our day to sit down, close our eyes and breathe. Most of us don’t have a Meditation Room in our office buildings. Many are worried what others will think if we meditate. Education is two-fold. I believe that the majority of us either don’t know anything about meditation or don’t believe in its benefits. I’ll briefly address each of these.