NourishDoc: Hello, everyone. Well, we have so much research that’s coming up now on the efficacy of mindfulness and meditation for stress relief. That’s the topic we wanted to bring up today with Megha. Megha is a yoga instructor and wellness coach joining me live from India. Namaste, Megha.
Yoga Instructor Megha: Namaste, thank you. I take it up from here.
NourishDoc: Yes, please.
Meditation For Anxiety & Depression
Yoga Instructor Megha: Yes, hi. First of all, thank you. So, hello, everyone; I am Megha Panchal, a yoga instructor, therapist, meditation expert, and health and nutrition coach. So, first of all, thanks to NourishDoc for providing the platform. So today, I’ll be talking about stress and meditation. These days I have heard a lot about stress. I keep meeting people on the side of it. I keep meeting people, and they keep talking about stress and how they are unable to manage it and they are in that circle and unable to come out.
So I have had a journey of anxiety and depression and have managed to escape it. So I have my journey as well with it. So, there are various techniques available these days. Today, I’ll focus on a more yogic approach to addressing stress. So, addressing managing and navigating posters. So it will be more on meditation and mindfulness. So, a little bit about stress. Stress is a part of day-to-day life. Like, it’s not something specific to me or anybody. Everybody experiences, and we experience this daily.
So, it can be on a broader term. I’ll define it as can be positive or negative. Positive is when it is aligned with our thought process and some change we want to bring into our life. So as getting into a relationship, buying a new house, or getting a new job. Something excites us, is very joyful, and brings us much happiness. So that is a positive one. And coming to the negative one is some changes thrown at us and not in alignment with us. Some pressure, some deadlines, or something we are not comfortable with. So that brings a negative side of our emotions, which is sadness, depression and irritation, and all.
So, I am not trying to say that one is good, positive is good, and negative is bad. It is just that we are in that cycle. We keep going up and down and sometimes experience multiple times daily. Either extreme happiness or extreme sadness. So, again that’s a part of life. Nothing wrong. But it’s just that if you can reduce this wave, the more yogic way of dealing with a balanced lifestyle is not getting too happy with happy moments and not getting too sad. So that is an ideal way.
I am not saying everybody can approach it. However, we can try to make that wave as small as possible and be more balanced in our approach to dealing with day-to-day situations. So again, coming back to a little bit of stress. I also want to go through a cycle of stress. So the stress cycle is first when we sense danger or discomfort, as I told you. So in primitive days, survival was a problem like survival, like finding food or providing shelter. But now, in modern days, those fears are not there. We do not like constantly feeling that somebody will come and chase us or that survival is not a problem.
Sources Of Stress
So stress is just coming from the things either aligned or not aligned, as I discussed in the beginning. So that is the first stage we sense it. So, what the mind does, is it creates some activation frequently talked about as a sympathetic activation. The sympathetic nervous system is quite a height response. This is to prepare the body for the danger we are sensing. So, it’s just that the pulp rate increases, the heartbeat rises, the circulation increases, and we start sweating. So, this is how the body responds or gets ready to respond, or we ask about the stress we have today.
So, that’s first; the next stage is adaption either we get to adapt to it, or the mind starts resisting. So again, whether we are aligned or not is the same thing. So the mind starts getting adapted, or the mind is constantly resistant. So, in my opinion, or what I feel, the mind can take the stress. It can keep living in anxiety, like even you must have some point that you can keep living in anxiety. Many people throughout their life are depressed. They live their entire life in depression. So, the mind can take it, but when this manifests in our body, we start getting chronic illnesses because the body cannot take it.
The body cannot live in constant stress. It starts manifesting, and people can see the mind thing to some extent; that’s why people are okay living with that state of mind, but when it comes to the body, it starts feeling you start feeling discomfort. It comes in the form of pain, diabetes, cancer, or hypertension, and that’s when whenever we start feeling discomfort, that’s when we start seeking revenue. Either we go to doctors or the fewer coaches or therapists. Whatever means are available.
Because we have, we feel like we have to work on that aspect. So, as per me and whatever yoga I have studied, the body can heal better. A child’s body can heal by itself. We don’t; the body knows everything. And the body is constantly talking with us. The mind has lost the ability to build that connection, to keep listening to it. So, like the body, we don’t need to teach how to digest food, clean, and breathe; the body knows, and the body also knows, as I said, it knows to heal.
So, it’s just if the mental aspect that is again, I will come back to it. I’m just trying to explain. Like how these things are separate, but they are together. They are working together. One can take it, one cannot, and when we respond. And then comes the third stage, exhaustion. That’s when the body starts feeling lethargic because we can’t live in constant danger constant feeling that somebody is chasing that. That’s why people are constantly irritated and annoyed with every aspect of life. Many things are not aligning because we face a constantly stimulating environment in the modern world. Be it social media or movies; constant stimulation is going on. So, coming back, how do we balance it?
So we are experiencing much sympathetic activation. So, how we balance is the parasympathetic side which is also there, the nervous system. So, we have to activate it more. And the body, mind, and the innate quality of the mind are key. So, like when the baby is born, the baby feels the natural state of mind, joyfulness, and peace apart from food and discomfort. So, that is what we have to keep bringing that mind. So, in the end, it comes to training the mind. So, how can we train the mind to keep that balance, as I said in the beginning? So there are various techniques available these days.
So, we’ll be focusing more on how we can use meditation as a tool or technique to train that mind. So, like anything needs training, any skill you want to learn, be it you want to play tennis, or you want to be a bike rider, anything. You need to train. You need training. So, similar way, the mind also needs training. So, here we are, using meditation as a tool. So for me, meditation is more of a theoretical aspect. So like a foundation. So anything needs a foundation, needs learning. So meditation is more theory, and mindfulness is a practical thing. So we need to apply.
Beginners Steps For Meditation
So, these are the two ways I generally simplify for people: meditation is, and meditation is, again, people think that they have to sit down there. There are various techniques also to meditation. But today, we’ll say that if you are a complete newbie, how will you stand that motivation? So, my idea is that I always tell people that start with guided meditation, don’t start meditation by themselves. There are plenty of YouTube videos and podcasts available, we say. To find how you can align again aligning to there are so many forms of meditation. So see what aligns with you. You will find you will have to a practical level. So it is better to start with one, two, or five minutes of meditation and if you have somebody who can guide you, it’s all the better. And better to be done in a group session.
Because it is the first time you are coming close to nature with your mind, it can be scary and very intimidating. So better to start with initial guided meditation. The second step is essential to be consistent. So no matter what happens, it might feel and even beginning, sorry, I forgot to mention, it’s better that you have some agenda, agenda in a sense, you should be aware of where you want to, which part of your life you want to address, Like, with something at work, some relationship, you should be aware of where you want to apply this.
How To Start Guided Meditation
Because you also want to see the results. So, it’s better to have some agenda for meditation. So, first is the agenda. Second is one, two, three, or five maths of meditation; you can do more. So, guided meditation is better. The second is being consistent. No matter what, do it every day. The third one is not too expectation and non-judgemental. Some days you will be able to focus. Some days the mind is just not ready. So, it will keep happening. But being consistent, keep going to the second step. Be consistent and have fewer expectations. And the fourth one is, if you are willing, I would say journal, we can write down every experience. Maybe not too much; up to you, but if you can, write it down. After two or three months, you will start saying that that change. And slowly, it will also become a part of your life. You will start enjoying it.
Getting To Mindfulness Meditation
So, these are the four steps I recommend for a newbie or a beginner. So, how they should go about and then comes the mindfulness part. So, mindfulness is going back to the agenda, like again going back to the practical aspect is you are experiencing that situation, and you are applying that meditation, that calmness which you feel that peace. And being non-judgmental again with the experience that you are feeling. be it in the relationship. Have an open mind, like what meditation does is it gives that space. Generally, we are so much engaged in the outer that the mind doesn’t get times that space to think through. Because it’s not like you can always take help.
But the solution is always there with you. Whatever you are experiencing in your life. The solution is always there with you. It’s just that the mind needs that time. Health is always better to take. But then it’s better that you navigate your own life. You are an expert in your own life. It’s always the case. So you provide that space, the mind can think through. And when you experience that situation, there are many ways to navigate through a situation. So many ways you can respond to a situation. So the meditation will give you that space, and it’s not that you will always respond correctly, or it will always give you the desired result. But you will learn the ability to give in your best. What is the best solution, or what maths can you do in that situation? So, again, three things are essential.
First is the agenda. Where do you want to apply? Second is starting that theory practice, that meditation. The third one is the application part. Why these three things are important is like, suppose you want to make some biryani or something. So, first, you take the knowledge, then you make and then you also have to taste it. So, you get the knowledge, but you are not making it, or you are getting knowledge, you are making it, but you are not tasting it. So, after you taste it, you start getting the flavor, and that’s when you get motivated and want to do it daily.
So, these three things are essential. So getting that awareness. You can take help. Sometimes you are not aware. Where you are stuck in your life. So it’s better to take health. Getting awareness than practicing that meditation. And then applying that mindfully and mindfulness slowly, you will start expanding your mindfulness not only in that situation but even when you are eating, when you are walking, when you are playing with your child, or whatever task day to day, a daily routine you will slowly you will start finding that it is becoming easier to apply in every aspect of your life. So, your horizon will keep widening. So, these are just tiny and beneficial ways.
Daily Routine For A Stress-free Life
NourishDoc: These are great tips. It’s tough for end consumers like us to start the meditation journey because meditation requires you to be still and sit still. Many of us have that issue with attention span because, as you said, there are so many distractions, such as social media or the news or whatever. It’s hard for ordinary people like me, who are not experts, to sit down and calm themselves and not have these thoughts, right? So it takes a little bit of practice to start with the meditation, and guided meditation, as you said very promptly, very aptly, is the way to do it.
So someone is guiding you rather than you sitting and thinking, oh my god, right? So, I like the way you said guided meditation. Then mindfulness is being present, and that is also very important because we are again thinking of either the past or the future and worried about and having these thoughts come and anxious. Thank you so much. I wanted to add flavor to what you said to make it more comfortable. Thank you so much. Anything else you want to add before I wrap up the session today?
Yoga Instructor Megha: Well, life is a very long journey. So it takes time to achieve balance, but we can always start with small ways, and meditation is a beautiful practice. I hope we all practice daily and thank you so much for having me.
NourishDoc: Absolutely. Thank you so much to all the followers who are supporting us daily. We are growing almost like, I don’t know, 260000 followers and almost 2 million people this our content is reaching. So we are creating a platform with everyone’s support and your support, like experts like you. So so stay tuned and thank you so much, and bye-bye.