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Many doctors, even those who are interested in nutrition and exercise, often view stress management techniques as less important than other factors. They believe that nutrition is important. Since you have to eat every day, it’s just a question of what you consume so it becomes part of  your awareness. Most people know and appreciate the importance of exercise—and exercise looks productive, like you’re really doing something.

Even a minute of meditation each day can make a meaningful difference.

However, stress management techniques are not part of most people’s daily routine; until they are, then it takes some effort to remind yourself to do them. Also, to the untrained observer, sitting with your eyes closed looks like you’re not doing very much.

In fact, these approaches are very powerful, as many research studies are documenting. Meditation, for example, is about focusing your mental energy. Focusing energy increases its power. When you can concentrate better, you can perform better—in school, in business, in sports. Whatever you do, you can do it more effectively and with less stress.

As with nutrition and exercise, you have a spectrum of choices when it comes to practicing stress management techniques; it’s not all or nothing.  The longer and the more frequently you practice these techniques, the more benefits you receive.

As Sydney Harris once wrote, “The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”

Even practicing a few minutes a day has benefits. Consistency is more important than duration—more is better, but even a minute of meditation each day can make a meaningful difference.  Sometimes, when I’m really busy and pressed for time, I’m tempted to just skip doing the meditation. Of course, the times that I’m busiest are usually the times that I need it the most. As Sydney Harris once wrote, “The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”

Instead, I play a little game with myself. I’ll ask, “Do I have just one minute to meditate?” If I don’t, then I would have to admit to myself that my life is so out of balance that it’s easier to just go ahead and meditate for one minute.

Getting started is always the hardest part for me. Once I’ve overcome the inertia and I’m meditating, chances are I’m going to do it for more than just a minute anyway.

Now, even a minute of meditation has value. Have you ever listened to a song on the radio and found yourself humming it later in the day? It’s like that with meditation—you continue to meditate subconsciously throughout the day.

For more helpful tips and information on beginning a meditation practice.



Contributed by

Dean Ornish, MD.
Program Founder

Awareness is the first step in healing. Just Ask!

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