Last Updated on March 19, 2021 by Paul Farrell, MRP, JD, PhD

Scientific research ... Four "zones" where stress is good! Lotsa fun is better! “Outside-the-box" is best! And other fabulous new truths!

Scientific research … Four “zones” where stress is good! Lotsa fun is better! “Outside-the-box” is best! And other fabulous new truths!


The Four Major “Zones” Of All Meditations

Sports-Fitness Zone …. Creativity Zone

Relationships Zone …. Traditional Zone


For over thirty years the public’s image of meditation has been narrowed almost exclusively to sitting meditation. Meanwhile, a quiet grassroots revolution has been exploding outside the media spotlight.

Meditation is being redefined by millions of normal people who have discovered that sitting meditation does not work for them. So they are deciding for themselves what kinds of meditation work best for them, and turning to alternative approaches, without the help of traditional meditation experts.

Two Polar Opposite Theories of Stress and Meditation:

This shift is most obvious in comparing the Relaxation Response of Dr. Herbert Benson with the work of sports psychologists such as Dr. James Loehr and his Challenge Response. They approach stress from extreme opposite directions.

Medical Doctors Focus On Stress In Disease & Pathologies

Dr. Benson and the medical profession come from a belief system that focuses on disease and pathologies: Stress is bad. It damages the body. In contrast, sports psychologists see stress as challenging, yet positive and healthy. When Loehr says “everything you know about stress is wrong” he is challenging the underlying belief system of the medical profession.

Sports Psychologists See Stress As Positive, Healthy & Energizing

For the past couple decades, sports psychologists have been proving that stress is healthy, that stress is positive and natural for humans, and that stress is not only manageable, it helps us tap into a powerful inner resource that is constantly challenging us to reach for our highest potentials, as athletes and as humans. In this new paradigm, stress is neither bad nor to be avoided, it is seen as a positive challenge and a powerful source of energy.

The New Sports/Fitness Zone is the Pathway to Meditation-In-Action

The “mental toughness” approach of Loehr and other sports psychologists use works along with developing physical toughness. The goal of mental toughness training is to increase your capacity to handle stress in work situations. Not by avoiding stress but by working with the stress challenges in ways that build inner strength and help you reach new levels of performance.

Sports psychologists realize that an approach focusing on stress reduction is not enough in the sports arena or in the business world. In their research, Loehr and his business partner Dr. Jack Groppel discovered that: “The performance demands that most people face in their everyday work environments dwarf those of any professional athletes we have trained.”

The influence of these corporate/sports psychologists can be seen everywhere in the examples below in the Sports/Fitness Zone. Their approach – integrating the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual – has opened the door wide for other ways of meditating in the creativity and relationships zones.

The Creativity Zone and the Passion of All Artists Triggers Spontaneous Natural “Action Meditation!”

Another quiet counter-trend is having an equally powerful influence on the new ways people are meditating today, expressed in the reemergence of the creative spirit for average people rather than the arena of professional artists. Many works – such as Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, Betty Edwards’ Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, Wayne Dyer’s Real Magic, Thomas Moore’s Care of the Soul, and others are an expression of this elusive spirit of creativity in America, as a way to meditation and a new kind of spirituality.


Next, Go Beyond, Into Relationships and Daily Living Where Opportunities to Meditate Constantly Surprise Us!

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