When you think about that word, what it means to you, do you get a picture in your head of a group of people sitting cross-legged on the floor, Ohmmm-ing? Or maybe a group of monks in colourful robes chanting?
Sure. Meditation can be those things. But it doesn’t have to be. And it can be so much more.
Working in the trucking industry is one of the most stressful jobs out there. There are constant deadlines, huge stakes, and the need to deal with traffic, accidents and repairs. Additionally, the job requires a lot of time alone and to be away from family and support systems. Add to that lack of sleep and ending up eating fast food a chunk of the time, and it’s no wonder trucking is classified as a high-risk occupation.
Benefits of meditation
One tool that can help is meditation. Meditation has been proven to help lower stress and anxiety levels, even the physical manifestations of that in our body, like blood pressure. It improves happiness and gives you a better sense of well-being. It allows you to deal with stressful situations in a calmer manner.
It’s not that meditation is a magical pill that will make all the stress in your life go away, it’s that meditation will change your reactions to the stressors in your life, and that could make all the difference.
You don’t need anything special to meditate. You don’t need a special room or special clothes or even a soundtrack (though there is a great app called Headspace you can check out). All you need is a few minutes.
How meditation helps
You see, meditation creates the same effect in our brains that REM sleep does. Theta waves create a state of relaxation, but also of great creativity. Have you ever been doing a repetitive task and then suddenly come up with a solution to a problem you’ve been wrestling with? That’s theta waves at work. But they need the right circumstances to manifest.
How to meditate
Farzana Jaffer Jeraj, bestselling author of I Cheat at Meditation, and a life-long meditator, has developed a simple technique that anyone can do, in just a few minutes a day.
1. Find a quiet spot. This could be in a park or a rest stop, or it can even be in the cab of your truck.
2. Sit comfortably. You don’t need to sit cross-legged, but do fold your hands in your lap, and take a strong posture. Jaffer Jeraj doesn’t recommend lying down, as it’s really easy to drift off to sleep!
3. Close your eyes or focus on a distant point. This is so you won’t be distracted by the things around you.
4. Notice your breath. Just breathe. And notice your breath flowing in and out, through your nose, down into your lungs, and out again through your nose.
5. As thoughts begin to cross your mind, notice them. Jaffer Jeraj says to observe them like they are clouds floating by on a blue sky. Acknowledge them, but know that you will deal with them later. Keep returning your focus to your breath.
6. Do this for anywhere between 1-15 minutes. You may want to set a timer to be safe.
That’s it! That’s how easy it is to meditate.
Stress causes cortisol to flood our bodies, inciting the “fight or flight” reaction. With regular practice, this deep breathing technique calms our stress reactions, and allows us to be more focused, alert, and able to deal with problems head-on.
You don’t need to chant or burn incense, but just a few minutes of mindful meditation can have far-reaching positive effects on your life and career.
Please note: meditate safely! Do not attempt to mediate while driving.
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