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Overwhelm vs Inner Peace: Meditation to Transform the American Everyday Experience

May is National Meditation Month, making it the perfect time to consider how much time and energy you’re giving to YOU in the form of intentional breathing, deep relaxation or reflection. If you’re the kind of person to skip over self care to be ‘more productive’ or feel stronger or more independent, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

Read on and see how adopting just a 5 minute meditation practice a few times a week can help you restore clarity, vitality and peacefulness even as the world around you spins out of control.


American Latina young woman happily meditating while sitting on the ground


Americans are facing unprecedented levels of stress and overwhelm. From the pressures of work and finances to the constant barrage of information (and misinformation) and demands on our time and energy, it's easy to feel like we're constantly treading water, struggling to keep up with the relentless pace of modern life. Now more than ever, finding moments of peace and calm amidst the chaos is essential for our well-being.


Studies show that Americans are, quite literally, more stressed than ever before. According to the American Psychological Association, stress levels in the United States have been steadily rising over the past decade, with a significant percentage of Americans reporting that their stress levels are higher than they believe is healthy.



But amidst this sea of stress and overwhelm, there is hope. Modern meditation practices are a powerful tool for navigating the challenges of everyday life, as well as sudden upheaval. By taking just a few minutes each day to sit and become present again, we can begin to cultivate a greater sense of inner peace and find our inner resilience— qualities that can carry us through even the most chaotic of times.


One of the beauties of meditation is its versatility. There are countless styles and techniques to explore, from mindfulness meditation, which involves bringing awareness to the present moment without judgment, to guided meditations that lead us on journeys of self-discovery and healing, to breathwork and breathing exercises that act as tools to calm, tone or activate the nervous system. Whether you prefer a structured approach or a more intuitive, free-flowing practice, there is a meditation style out there that is sure to resonate with you.



Any of these meditative practices can help us cultivate a sense of inner clarity and resilience that allows us to navigate life's challenges with grace and ease. Instead of getting swept up in the whirlwind of stress and overwhelm, we can learn to step back, take a deep breath, and respond to life's challenges from a place of centeredness and peace. 


We can see that meditation is not just a momentary escape from the chaos of the world, but rather a powerful tool for lasting transformation and unencumbered self-discovery. It invites us to cultivate a deeper, more intimate relationship with ourselves, to explore the inner landscape of our thoughts and emotions, and to discover the boundless reservoir of peace and wisdom that lies within. Meditation can also help us determine or reassess what things we do have control over, and what things we don’t, and we can decide where to place our focus and energy based on these realizations


If you find yourself feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or disconnected from the peace that lies within, I invite you to explore the practice of meditation. You can start with just a few minutes each day, and gradually build from there if you feel inclined. Keep an pen mind, go lightly, and experiment with different styles and techniques until you find one that resonates with you and fits into your lifestyle. You can find a variety of methods at my Insight Timer profile, and I’ll guide you through the practices any time you want to listen. 



Here are a few audio practices to get you started:


Mindful Body Scan 12 minutes


Renewal Visualization 4 minutes


Calming Breathing 7 minutes



American woman meditating on lunch break with headphones


If you don’t resonate with something, or it feels too difficult to pay attention in the moment, just try something else until you’re in a different place mentally or physically. Above all, be patient and compassionate with yourself as you embark on this journey of self-discovery and re-empowerment. 


Often, the most challenging part is just dedicating the time to try a practice and then remembering to put your other tasks on pause to try meditation. Think of it like stopping to stretch your body, or have a glass of water, or text/ call a friend. All of these are short but essential energy shifts, and practicing a short meditation can give you a healthy boost unlike anything you’ve known.



If you prefer live classes in real-time, then join me and folks from around the globe every Sunday for free meditation online. Sign up now to attend the new series ‘Gratitude and Grace’ starting on May 5th at 10 am ET.


Meditation offers us a lifeline—a way to recenter, refocus, and find a little peace amidst the storm. So why not give it a try? Your mind, body, and spirit will thank you for it.



 


Jessica Crow, founder and meditation teacher for CNTRD Meditation Teacher Training

Jessica Crow is the author of The Power of Guided Meditation and founder of CNTRD Wellness & CNTRD Meditation.


She helps people harness the power of meditation and mindfulness to change their lives and the lives of others through practical classes and courses for the everyday practitioner and budding meditation teachers.


Follow her on Insight Timer to listen to free guided meditations and attend free virtual classes.

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