When it comes to stress and anxiety, most know that unless addressed through practices like meditation, these two silent killers can ultimately lead to physical and emotional distress. Heart disease, cancer, and high blood pressure are just some of the things that can result from prolonged strain to the body’s nervous system. And although most jobs carry with it some sort of pressure, those men and women who watch over our lives on a daily basis are much more susceptible to the effects of long-term stress on the body and mind.
Claire Diab and Dennis Boyle pen this recent Fire Life post on the use of relaxation meditation to turn one’s focus within to combat the effects of stress. The post is directed to firefighters. According to Diab and Boyle, true relaxation occurs when attention is turned inward. In doing so, various chemicals are released that slow a person down and nourish one’s muscles and various systems of the body.
As firefighters, you often find it difficult to find time for yourself, let alone find time to relax.
Often, at the end of a long day of work, it’s tempting to come home and sit on the sofa in front of the television or settle into an easy chair with the newspaper. These might be passive actions, yet they’re not relaxing. True relaxation means turning your attention inward, listening to and calming your senses and your body.
Remember: Where your attention goes, energy flows. When your attention is on a mindless sitcom, or a tragic newspaper story, energy and attention are streaming outward away from your body–and you’re not receiving anything in return. If you close your eyes and bring your attention inward, you will energize your entire being mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
Having awareness of your thoughts using a mechanism called the Relaxation Response has proven to decrease stress and anxiety, increase energy, lower high blood pressure, and even help with sleep disorders.
The relaxation meditation for firefighters can be found here.