Tracy Vitale - Blog 2highres_443593324.jpeg

I am someone who has suffered with stress and anxiety in all its forms.  I was one of these people who would consistently worry about the past, the future, things that I thought would happen (and turns out never actually did!)  - everything!  It’s been a never-ending battle.   I even had a couple of years where I was admitted on a number of occasions to hospital with chest pains and yet after various blood tests and an ECG the doctors found nothing.   I was eventually sent off for a stress test, sometimes called a treadmill or exercise test to find out my hearts ability to respond to external stress.  Again the results showed nothing.

I ended up realising that whenever I was worried or stressed, it was having an effect on my body.  I could literally feel my chest tightening as well as my jaw.  The symptoms were scary, like I was having a heart attack or what I imagined one to feel like.  I knew I needed to look into something to reduce my stress and the way I looked at my life.  I had been attending Bikram yoga on and off for a number of years and now realised even more the importance this type of activity has not only for one’s body but also the mind.

I volunteered at my local bayside community health centre and attended a meditation class.  It brought me back to the roots of my family and my Indian heritage.   I recall as a child my grandmother rising early each morning before everyone else to do her meditation.  There she sat on the floor facing her little table of offerings, incense lit and her eyes slowly gazing towards her table.  She looked so calm and peaceful.

My grandmother was a widow for 30+ years as my grandfather passed away at an early age.  I truly believe it was this ritual that kept her calm and happy in her heart for what I can only imagine was a very lonely situation living alone.  I still recall when my grandfather was alive; this ritual was also a part of their daily lives as the two of them attended to what they referred to as “class” each morning at 5am.  This I now know was a place they went to for meditation.  The place they visited states “Mediation for Peace, Hope for the World, Wisdom for life and discovery of Spirituality as a way of life”.

Stress is a major problem in today’s society.  People are busy at work, busy at home, busy with children and busy with social obligations.  We also know that stress is one of the worst things for our health.  We need to find ways of not only reducing stress in our lives but also managing it.  Meditation is definitely one way I have found to manage my stress.  Meditation involves activating the body’s natural relaxation response.  You can do this by practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, guided meditation and yoga.  Research has shown that these techniques have huge benefits on mental health including a reduction in proneness to depression and an increase in positivity.  It also increases the ability to deal with life’s ups and downs.

Fitting these activities into your life can help reduce everyday stress and helps boost your energy and mood.

I have definitely found that meditation along with returning back to my yoga practice has helped me in managing my stress.  Along with a healthy diet, regular exercise and a good night’s sleep I know I’m one step closer to achieving inner peace and a new way of life.

Meirav Dulberg