I recently read an interesting article on the Economist entitled “A New York State of Mind”. The article mentioned about a research done last year by Dutch researchers on the state of mental health between city dwellers as well as rural dwellers. Through a series of samples and experiments, it showed that city dwellers tend to have more than 21% higher risk of developing anxiety disorders than the rural dwellers.
Now I think that this is due to the faster pace of life in the city compared to countryside. The life in a big city entails a lot of stress coming from different time perception compared to that in the countryside. City dwellers tend to view that they are always running out of time. There seems to be no enough time for them. Everything seems to be urgent and has to be completed at once. Fire fighting is also common. There is little wonder that city dwellers suffer from more stress and develop more anxiety-related disorders than their rural counterparts.
Realising the negative and harmful effects that living in a fast-paced environment might have on not only on the mental health but as well as physical health of one’s being, I think one needs to learn to slow down. Meditation is one method whereby one can learn to slow down and be more in tune with the natural timing of the body and mind. There are many ways of doing meditation, but sitting meditation is of the more common versions. By focusing on one’s breath, one is able to gain focus, concentration and awareness. For gaining the full benefit of meditation, one is advised to practise meditation on a daily basis. For a start, one can try doing it for ten minutes. When one is more comfortable, the time can be gradually increased to 20 minutes, 30 minutes and even longer. When doing meditation, it is important for one to be gentle towards oneself. Just watch your mind and observe the arising and ceasing of thoughts, feelings, emotions. Notice that these are transient phenomena, that whatever things that arise will eventually cease.
I have been doing meditation for many years now. It becomes parts and parcels of my daily life. I notice that I could handle the stress and anxiety much better that if I do not practise meditation at all. With mind and body connection, the healthy mind that one has will certainly help to promote a healthier body as well.