Stress free, medicine free

WLTV: If there were a medication you could take that would reduce stress, lower your blood pressure, reduce anxiety, increase your ability to focus, prevent disease and improve your quality of life would you take it? Well, there is no such drug, but research shows that meditation can help all of those things. Doctors at Mayo Clinic have developed an iPhone application to help you fit the many benefits of meditation into your busy life.

Ann Marie Gullickson’s life is packed. She works, takes classes, keeps her family organized and somehow finds time to sew costumes for her kids’ performances. “When my mind is really busy with all the different balls I have in the air.”

Meditation is what keeps her together. Every day Ann Marie carves out 10 minutes and turns on her iPhone meditation app for a quick, but very effective session. “Sometimes when I’m meditating or right after, I maybe don’t feel any different. But later I’ll notice the sense of awareness, of calm, of presence.” Then, Ann Marie says, the to-do list that used to feel miles long, seems a little less daunting. She feels less stressed. “Meditation is a state of concentration with relaxation.”

Dr. Amit Sood and his colleagues at Mayo Clinic developed the application after four years of research. “We combined concepts and ideas from a variety of meditation styles. We also looked at some of the scientific data and put it all together into a program that could be learned in as little as 10 minutes.”

It’s very user-friendly. Musical chords synchronized with moving circles help you focus your breathing and mind. Dr. Sood says if you practice this two or more times a day, you will begin to feel more alert, focused, relaxed, and like Ann Marie, better equipped to confront a busy day. There is no mystical, ritualistic or religion-based approach to it. It’s simply a way to train your mind so that your attention becomes strong. And that can help you live a fuller, more balanced.

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