Sit down, switch off, zone out: the ultimate stress buster

Just a few minutes' daily meditation can make all the difference between an anxious existence and a life of quiet contentment.

Pop stars know it, movie stars, too – and so do saffron-robed monks. While stress may be the great scourge of the modern age, man has long known the secret of how to beat it. Confirmation came this week in the pages of the august journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences – a scholarly tome a cosmic lifecycle away from the internet twitterings of the New Age.

Research from the University of Oregon claims to prove that attaining a state of "restful alertness" for 20 minutes a day over a period of just five days can physically reduce anxiety and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

The millions of people worldwide who practise meditation in its myriad forms may well allow themselves a wry smile at receiving the empirical blandishments of modern science. For theirs is a tradition that dates back nearly 3,000 years.

Not that anyone is certain exactly when it emerged, although most agree that the first meditators could be found sitting cross-legged among the Hindu tribes of the Indus valley shortly after Egyptian slaves had put the finishing touches to the Pyramids.

Source - Independent

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