Release Your Financial Stress
Meditation Can Help You Find Peace Amidst the Storm
By Dr. David Simon



In these times of economic turbulence, stress has become omnipresent in many people's lives. As the American Psychological Association reports in its recently-released Stress in America Survey, nearly half of Americans nationwide reported that their stress levels had increased in the past year, and approximately one-third said that their current stress levels are "extreme." 

For women, the impact of financial stress is particularly far-reaching. According to the APA survey, women have reported higher average stress levels than men, as well as more physical and emotional symptoms of stress - such as headaches, depression and sadness, fatigue, lack of motivation, and irritability.

In addition, 50 percent of women surveyed said they weren't managing their stress well or didn't think they were doing enough to manage their stress. Many acknowledged that their coping behaviors included overeating, shopping, smoking, and hours of TV and Internet surfing.

While such activities may provide temporary relief, they obviously don't provide a long-term solution to stress. What most of us are really seeking is an inner state of awareness that helps us feel peaceful and centered - no matter what is unfolding in the exterior world. As the ancient sages of India discovered thousands of years ago, the most direct way to experience the stillness and calm within is meditation.

Meditation for Stress
Relief Meditation is a powerful tool that allows us to access a state of deep restful awareness. In this state, the bodily reactions are exactly the opposite of those created by the stress response: the breathing slows, blood pressure decreases, and stress hormone levels fall. Even as the body is resting deeply in meditation, the mind is awake, though quiet. The term restful awareness captures the unique combination of physical relaxation and an alert yet quiet mind.

When you meditate, you go beyond the mind's noisy chatter into an entirely different place: the silence of a mind that is not imprisoned by the past or the future. Why is this important? Because silence is the birthplace of happiness. Silence is where we get our bursts of inspiration, our tender feelings of compassion and empathy, our sense of love.

These are all delicate emotions, and the chaotic roar of the internal dialogue easily drowns them out. But when you discover the silence in your mind, you no longer have to pay attention to all those random images that trigger worry, anger, and pain.

As numerous scientific studies have shown, a regular meditation practice produces tangible benefits for mental and physical health, including:

- Lowered blood pressure and hypertension

- Slower heart rate

- Decreased cholesterol levels

- Reduced production of  "stress hormones,"  including cortisol and  adrenaline

- More efficient oxygen use by the body

- Increased production of the anti-aging hormone DHEA

- Improved immune function

Beyond significant health benefits, the greatest gift of meditation is the sense of calm and inner peace it brings into your daily life. When you emerge from your meditation session, you take some of the stillness and calm with you as you move through your day.  All of your thoughts, actions, and reactions are infused with a little more love and mindful attention.

At The Chopra Center for Wellbeing, we teach Primordial Sound Meditation, a natural meditation technique that is easy for anyone to learn. We have certified instructors throughout the world if you would like to learn in your hometown. In addition, we recommend a powerful meditation technique you can try right now:

So Hum Meditation
1. Choose a place where you won't be disturbed. Sit in a chair or on the floor, using blankets and pillows to make yourself as comfortable as possible.

2. Close your eyes for a few minutes and observe the inflow and outflow of your breath.

3. Now take a slow, deep breath through your nose, while thinking or silently repeating the word So.

4. Then slowly exhale through your nose while silently repeating the word Hum. Continue to allow your breath to flow easily, silently repeating So... Hum... with each inflow and outflow of the breath. Whenever your attention drifts to thoughts in your mind, sounds in the environment, or sensations in your body, gently return to your breath, silently repeating So...Hum.

5. Do this process for 20 to 30 minutes. Just breathe easily and effortlessly, without trying to concentrate. When the time is up, sit with your eyes closed for a few minutes before going about your usual activities.

Founded by mind-body healing pioneers, Deepak Chopra, M.D. and David Simon, M.D., The Chopra Center for Wellbeing offers a wide variety of programs, retreats, and teacher training programs that fuse the healing arts of the East with the best in modern Western medicine.

For additional information on learning meditation, yoga, and other mind-body healing practices, visit or call (888) 736-6895.


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