If you are like most people, you probably feel like your days are pretty full.
Many of my patients, colleagues, friends and family members are putting in very long hours at work. To make matters worse, some people have long and stressful commutes at the start of their work days and then again at the end of their work days.
Lots of us also have responsibilities which include parenting children, taking care of aging parents and fulfilling obligations to community activities.
In short, “our plates feel like they are pretty full.”
There is now an abundance of research that indicates that two lifestyle changes are very important if we want to live long and healthy lives, given our busy schedules.
First, there is a substantial amount of research which indicates that exercising for approximately forty minutes a day four times a week is very important for our cardiovascular health and our overall well being. In brief, there is no doubt that regular exercise has enormous health benefits.
If you work out at a gym or at pool, you probably need to allocate at least an additional twenty minutes for driving to the facility, taking a shower and changing your clothes.
So, many of us will need to build an extra hour into our just day to accommodate our exercise regime.
Second, there is also an abundance of research which indicates that daily meditation is quite helpful in reducing stress, improving performance and in increasing longevity.
Russell Simmons, in his new book, Success Through Stillness, does an excellent job of outlining the numerous benefits of meditation. He talks about lower blood pressure, better focus, improved mood, fewer toxins in your blood, weight loss, better sleeping and significant stress reduction.
Researchers who have studied meditation seem to recommend that we engage in this practice twice a day for twenty minutes at a time. Most meditation teachers recommend that you do this in the morning and again in the evening.
If my math is right, engaging in regular exercise and daily meditation will require approximately one hundred minutes per day. While this sounds a bit daunting, the significant benefits probably make it worthwhile to engage in these two activities on a regular basis.
As one of my clients, a very disciplined tri-athlete told me, “I simply wake up an hour earlier to make time for the things I need to do.”
Jay P. Granat, Ph.D. is a Psychotherapist and a Licensed Marriage And Family Therapist in River Edge, NJ. He is also the Founder of www.StayInTheZone.com