Meditation: Take it Once a Day (Parenting on the Peninsula Magazine)

Happy Tuesday!

If you are a parent, you will find benefit in this months’ Coach’s Corner Column that I wrote for Parenting on the Peninsula, May 2012 edition. Even if you are not a parent, in today’s world we all have a little too much stress.

If you are feeling totally in control of life, your health is good, you wake up and jump out of bed, you have no pain, your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels are normal, your mood is consistently good, you have no thyroid or other auto-immune conditions, you have no digestive problems, etc. you most likely do not need to read this article on Meditation. I also commend you for the lifestyle you lead and the genetics you have!

If you feel that you could benefit from slowing life down, you can see the article here on pg. 11: Parenting on the Peninsula

I also copied it here for you:

Another day of organized chaos in the world of a Peninsula parent…get the kids up and fed, clothed,
off to school, picked up from school, off to the season’s activity—soccer, baseball, etc., home for dinner, help with homework, prepare lunch for the kids for the next day and repeat for the next 11 years!

We can’t continue to give out energy without re-fueling the tank (reserves). If we continue to give and exceed our capacity for giving, PAIN will result.

We only have a few basic daily needs that must be met in order to optimize health, fitness, performance and wellness:

1. Air
2. Water
3. Food
4. Sleep
5. Connection to others
6. Movement

By getting your needs met before other things that show up in your life, you will have less anxiety and symptoms of pain, you will perform at your most efficient state and your mind will be free of clutter. You will be a better parent, spouse, friend and member of society.

Rather than getting caught up in your emails, make sure you start your day with 1-2 glasses of water.
Workout soon after waking for optimal fat loss. Also, make sure you eat breakfast to “break the fast.”

One of the most important and neglected needs is #1—Air. Yes, given you are alive, you are breathing. However, you have an opportunity to slow things down. You can slow your breathing rate, which will shift you away from the sympathetic dominant (flight or fight response) lifestyles we tend to live.

Although our bodies’ reaction to stress is good in that it helps us adapt to the stressor, in today’s world, we are being stressed more than ever and we are not faring well.

Stress comes with deadlines. We experience financial stress, relationship stress, job stress, etc. It can also be spiritually based—regardless of your religion. Our bodies can also become stressed by the foods we eat, our environment, age, disease, bacteria, viruses, physical misalignment like bad posture, electro-magnetic stress (cell phones, computers, etc.), being too cold or too hot.

Whatever the sources of stress, our physiology does its best to fix the situation and eventually becomes fatigued. When we are overwhelmed, we get tired, anxious, have insomnia, headaches, muscle and joint pain, digestive complaints, blood pressure and cholesterol issues and our immune system is affected.

The typical western model is: feel bad –> go to the doctor–> get medicine–>mask symptom for a while–>
gain weight–> get tested frequently by the doctor to make sure liver and kidneys are okay from side effects of meds–>get different symptoms like more weight gain, depression and insomnia–> get more meds, etc.

Much of this cycle can often be reduced by a simple practice of daily meditation. There are many forms of
meditation. The most common Zen Meditation is doing your best to think about nothing while breathing as slowly as possible. If this works for you, go for it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work very well for me.

Meditation can be done just about anywhere. How about a walk on the beach, a hike on a trail, or while jogging or cycling? For me, journaling works best. I reflect on all the things I am grateful for, and indicate the challenges that occurred during the day. I observe where God or Source moved through me and others during my interactions. For the big challenges I have, I ask for help.

Like a typical guy, asking for help was initially difficult. The cool part is whenever I ask for help, my challenges and questions are usually resolved. I still try to control things, but that is human nature.
I do my reflection meditation and journaling just about anywhere now, and when I do my life is so much easier.

I also love to walk on the Labyrinth at Mercy Center in Burlingame. This is a powerful place that grounds me, leaving me less anxious. When I do not take time for myself, I am anxious, frustrated, overwhelmed, quick to anger, unmotivated to eat well or workout, experience muscle-related pain, digestive complaints and more. I have also found that the more I give to others, the more I need to re-charge.

Meditation becomes crucial, especially for those desiring fat loss, which is my key population of clients.

Evaluate how much of your stress and pain could be due to a lack of time for yourself. Add daily meditation to your To Do list. Start out with as little as five minutes a day. Work up to longer periods of quiet time. Breathe. Reflect.

Air is the foundation for life. Slow your breath and control your life.

Related articles:

Live in the Present Moment

Be Grateful

Solution for Peace and Stress Reduction

Your friend & coach,

Brien

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Brien Shamp BS CSCS CMT CHEK NLC II

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