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Modern Life is Stressful – Why Meditation is the Answer

Modern Life is Stressful - Why Meditation is the Answer

 

In many ways, it seems churlish to argue that life isn’t now is more comfortable, convenient and prosperous than it has ever has been. While our ancestors spent their days grubbing up roots for a mud-and-onion stew, getting tormented by Vikings or diligently developing scurvy, we get to sit around eating pizzas and watching Poldark. It’s undeniably fantastic! Yet with anxiety and stress swiftly becoming pressing health issues, it seems that despite our advantages there’s something amiss.

When we acknowledge that modern life is stressful, and ask if meditation is the answer, we need to consider exactly why society (as it’s organised now) is making so many of us feel so pent up. It seems clear that there’s something about we humans and the way we’ve decided to live that’s driving us to distraction. You can look at pretty much anything else in the animal kingdom and they seem more chilled, even the animals that have legitimate concerns about being savaged by lions – so where are we going wrong?

Life, stress and feeling the pressure

If you often struggle through work, think you can’t keep up with everything you have to do, and want the world to just stand still for a moment so you can collapse in a heap, you are probably one of the many people who is finding it hard to cope with the pressure of modern life. A thousand tiny worries create a haze of exhaustion and stress, something that has unfortunately been accepted as the new normal.

There is a variety of factors that contribute to this feeling. The drip-drip effect of small stresses all add up; from the moment the alarm shocks us out of our natural sleep, to reading worrying news stories on our smartphones before we drop off (often a little later than we planned to). This has only got more intense as technology has advanced, and we can often find ourselves receiving office emails at 10 pm, never getting the chance to truly switch off.

Modern technology means we are always socially “on”, checking social media profiles, maintaining an image of ourselves (known as our “personal brand”) and interacting with friends. The result is that we are always engaged with the world, performing socially even in moments where we are alone and seemingly winding down.  

The other aspect of this information overload is that we have become surrounded by advertising, perpetuating the idea that there’s always something that we need. Trying to measure up to an unattainable, marketing-born ideal can cause lots of anxiety and strain. Worrying about wrinkles, agonising over outfits and stressing out because we can’t afford a holiday this year may seem trivial, but it can place real barriers in the way of contentment and happiness.

Many of these issues are the result of the modern world evolving faster than our physiology. Our response to stress evolved in order to help us run or fight for our lives in times of danger, and our body reacts accordingly. It does this by releasing stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, raising our heart rate and redirecting energy to our muscles in order to cope with the immediate peril.

Because these threats were few and far between, our bodies were designed to have long periods of rest between stressful moments. Then the hormones and other bodily responses could dissipate and return to normal, but now we are eliciting this response more regularly than is good for us.

An overload of stress hormones makes us feel pretty terrible – negatively affecting our immune system, mental wellbeing and making it hard to get a good night’s sleep. Our 24 hour, on-the-go world and all its attendant pressures means that it’s more important than ever to take care of ourselves.

How Meditation Helps Us

Self-care in the form of meditation offers a profound rest and gives us a much-needed respite from the stresses of the modern world. Simply ensuring we know when to say “no” and take some time for ourselves is vital in a world where we are encouraged to be constantly busy, and can even feel guilty or lazy when we need to relax. Becoming conscious of our own stress levels and taking time out when they have become overwhelming is hugely important, and will help us find modern life much less stressful.

Meditation encourages a bodily reaction which is pretty much the exact opposite of the stress response. Instead of “fight or flight”, we foster “rest and repair”, finding levels of relaxation which can be extremely elusive in our society. With this, we can cultivate a calm and clarity that will help us work smarter, rest more often and make better judgements for ourselves.

When our thinking is clouded by stress, we can lack the ability to perceive situations as they truly are and find that we are so lacking in energy that with have neither the motivation or adaptability to change our circumstance. By becoming that little bit more relaxed and happier with meditation, it becomes much easier to consider change – for instance, by asking ourselves whether we’re really enjoying our current job role and if perhaps there isn’t some capacity to change things for the better with a couple of bold moves.

Perhaps the most exciting thing about meditation, however, is the potential to change the world we live in. There is nothing inevitable about structural problems we face – from rampant consumerism to climate change – and through meditation, we can begin to make more compassionate, long-sighted and thoughtful decisions for ourselves and the world around us. The small, individual transformations which are facilitated through meditation, such as a greater capacity for kindness and understanding, could have a huge impact on the way humanity operates as a whole – which we think is a pretty amazing prospect.

Words by Holly Ashby

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Our Highlights of 2018!

 

Happy New Year everyone! We’ve got a very exciting year ahead of us at Beeja Meditation, but before all that, we think it’s the right time to pause, reflect and look back over 2018.

For many of us, the New Year is a psychologically powerful time. We are irresistibly drawn to the concepts of rebirth, renewal and the chance to start afresh – casting off the baggage of the year that’s gone by and embracing everything that’s exciting as the new one rolls around.

But before we dive into all the “New Year, New Me” fervour and truly get to grips with all the hopes and dreams we have for 2019, we are going to take a peek at everything we’re proud of from the last year – and delight in some pretty brilliant memories too!

 

The Beeja Meditation Podcasts – February

https://willwilliamsmeditation.podbean.com/will williams and howard donald

Early in 2018, we had the absolute pleasure of interviewing some very wonderful people for the Beeja podcast, listening to their favourite songs while exploring subjects close to their hearts – and meditation was a common theme!

With the very knowledgeable and always amiable Jasmine Hemsley, we discussed her journey to Ayurveda, favourite songs and totally delicious golden milk recipe. Touching on subjects from industrialised agriculture to the danceable tunes of 2003, it was a fascinating chat. Madeleine Shaw was also a wonderful interviewee, talking about her pregnancy with insight and honesty, while also giving great advice on finding balance and how to cook the yummiest healthy food. 

Super entrepreneur Sam Branson was equally candid and perceptive, exploring an issue which affects many of us – anxiety – and the power of meditation to overcome it. Chatting with Will about the power of business to do good in the world and the way forward for education, this conversation gave us plenty to think about. Take That’s Howard Donald joined us to take us through how meditation (a practice he was relatively new too) increased his creativity and helped him with the rigours of touring while managing his responsibilities as a dad of four, as well as offering us his refreshing and thoughtful perspective on many other subjects.

 

 

will williams los angeles sunset sound

April – Shavasana Disco Breaks America!

For the first time ever, in 2018 Shavasana Disco (our meditation and music event) left London and winged its way to Sunset Sound Studio in the USA! A truly iconic location, Sunset Sound Studio was where Prince recorded the sublime album Purple Rain – one of our absolute favourites! So we packed our bags, jumped on a flight to Los Angeles and lead a guided meditation in this most inspiring of settings, before enjoying a full album playback of Purple Rain in the very place that it was created. How can life get any better? 🎵🎤🎸

 

 

 

 

the effortless mind

In May, Will Williams Published His First Book, The Effortless Mind

A huge personal achievement for our founder and a source of pride for the whole team, The Effortless Mind was published with Simon and Schuster on May 3rd and documents the personal stories of those whose lives have been transformed by meditation, as well as the science and history behind this ancient technique.

The Effortless Mind is a fascinating exploration of the problems we are experiencing in the modern world due to stress, overwork and constant activity, and how meditation can be a compelling antidote to these problems. Eye-opening, honest, down-to-earth and potentially life-changing, The Effortless Mind is both a must-read and one of our fondest memories of 2018!

 

 

World Meditation Day, May 15th

Akala World Meditation DayWe had an absolutely amazing time at Fabric in London on World Meditation Day. Taking this marvelous location – famous for late nights, dancing, music and indulgence – and creating an evening filled with a different kind of hedonism was perhaps the most fun we had all year!

Cutting out the booze, adding a touch of meditation and preserving everything that makes Fabric special all formed an occasion where people could have a Big Night Out, but without the hangover. The super-talented DJs and musicians B.Traits, Jordan Rakei and Akala kept us all entertained, while Jasmine Hemsley’s Sound Sebastien opened the evening with a beautiful sound bath.

The performers and attendees all did so much to make this a unique and completely positive event – chilled out yet vibrant, and full of music, laughter, fun and relaxation. And our very own Will Williams didn’t only lead a guided meditation, he shared a poem with everyone!

 

June/July – The World Cup! Will Williams young

No football fan can mention the highlights of 2018 without a nod to The World Cup. The last time England were in a World Cup semi-final this is what Will looked like (which may give some indication of how long ago that was! 😉😂) and wasn’t it fantastic seeing the whole country get ridiculously excited over the nation’s favourite game?

 

Moving to Shoreditch

shoreditch meditation space

 

It’s always been a dream to open a centre in Shoreditch, so this year we decided to make the jump and move our main centre East. We headed to 45 Hoxton Square in the wonderful area of Shoreditch, and absolutely love the look of our new meditation space – as well as its vibrant new location! It was only a few years ago that we opened our meditation centre, and seeing how much it’s grown is a lovely thing, with our team having taught over 3000 people in the art of meditation since then.

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to all the wonderful people who were part of our 2018, it’s been an absolutely lovely year and we can’t wait for the next one! Happy 2019 everyone!

This entry was posted in blog.