The power of meditation: How being intentional has helped me reduce stress

Yesterday, I was taking a meditation class that began with a dialogue about the power of intent. To some people, this may seem like a far-out concept, but I believe it works.

From all medical perspectives, there is no question that meditation has a positive effect on the brain and the body’s nervous system. It is basically a quieting of the mind. It could consist of spending a mere 15 to 30 minutes per day in a quiet environment where you can calm your mind and let go of the craziness of our minds babbling about what we should be doing (e.g. cleaning out a closet, running to the dry cleaners).

When you add intent to the process, you state your specific goal then begin quieting the mind. Meditation isn’t based on material goals like buying a house or winning a million-dollar lottery ticket. It is an intention geared toward your emotional, physical or mental health.

While meditating the other day, my intent was to live a full day of calm— one marked by no fighting (or should I say yelling at my son about finding a job?). I closed my eyes and repeated, "Stay calm." Of course, other thoughts come to you when you’re trying to reach that point of peace. For me, one thought is: "What are you making for dinner tonight?" But meditation requires returning to your mantra when those disruptive thoughts enter your mind:“Stay calm.”

I am really trying to make this change in my life because I know that negativity, fear of dying, and worry about how I can make sure my children are taken care of when I leave the planet all add a tremendous amount of stress to my health. No one benefits from stress and worry, especially those of us coping with chronic illness.

I am going to focus on daily meditation and setting a positive intention before I begin.

My advice to you, whether you’re struggling with chronic illness, are a mother juggling multiple responsibilities, or are completely healthy and/or single, is to create an intention for the now— not for the future. I truly believe this will work for everyone. We just need to carve out that small amount of time to quiet our minds. We— each and every one of us— need to make time for us.

How did life become so crazy? We over-extend ourselves; we over-extend our children. We are competitive with other parents about our kids getting into the right schools. Our leaders can be shiftless and, sometimes, seemingly lack a moral compass. Nothing gets done because of the ego, which causes people not to work together for the common good. Letting go of that ego is a crucial part of meditating successfully.

In my rattling off my worries and concerns, I’ve made it clear that I need meditation. If you can relate, I am asking you to try it. I am giving it a shot, and I plan to get my son to do it with me.

I wish you a peaceful, long weekend.