We can all use a little help with stress management. Modern life is hectic and can cause prolonged stress, which is mentally and physically harmful to your health and wellbeing. Meditation is a great way to relax and unwind so you can let the stress of every day drift away.
Meditation dates back thousands of years and is practiced in many different cultures. While meditation rituals and practice vary around the globe, it is considered essential to spiritual development. Western medicine has finally caught up with the rest of the world and recognizes there are many health benefits to meditating, one of them being stress management.
What Is Meditation?
Meditation is the practice of allowing your mind and body to enter a state of deep relaxation. It slows the metabolism, your heart rate and even lowers blood pressure, which is very healing for the entire body.
When one is in a meditative state, muscle tension will decrease, brain wave patterns shift from swift beta waves typical of busy daytime activities to slower alpha waves, the kind you have just before falling asleep.
Three Meditations to Practice for Stress Management
1. Peace & Calm
Sit or lie in a comfortable position, preferably in a quiet room or space. Close your eyes and begin to breath in and out deeply, keeping your breathing slow.
Focus attention on your breathing, feeling the movement as each breath flows in then out.
Find a calm and peaceful place deep inside yourself, completely shutting out the outside world. As you inhale say a relaxing word to yourself. As you exhale say that word to yourself again. Repeat this exercise for three to five minutes.
2. Golden Temple
Again, find a comfortable position. Begin by inhaling through your nose and exhaling slowly through your mouth. As you breathe deeply, visualize a green meadow full of beautiful and fragrant flowers. In the middle of the meadow imagine a golden temple with peace and healing emanating from it. Visualize yourself walking through the meadow and into the temple. You are the only person there and it is completely still and peaceful inside.
Stand very still and feel healing energy pour into your body through every pore in your skin, filling you with a warm golden light. Every cell in your body is nourished and healed by the light and the energy it fills you with feels like a healing balm that induces a total state of relaxation.
Allow stress to dissolve and flow out of your mind and body as you become completely at ease. Remain in the temple for as long as you want.
When you are ready to leave, open your eyes and continue breathing slowly but deeply for a few more cycles.
3. Oak Tree
Find a position with your arms resting at your sides. Close your eyes and focus on breathing deeply, taking long slow relaxed breathes.
After a few cycles of deep breathing visualize your body as a strong, sturdy tree. You are solid like the trunk of the tree. Imagine your roots are growing out of your arms and legs going deeply down into the earth to anchor your body. You feel solid, strong and confident.
If stressful thoughts or situations occur visualize your body remaining grounded and strong just like the tree. Let yourself feel your strength with arms and legs rooted firmly in the earth. You are confident in your power and can calmly handle any situation.
Learning to meditate will take some practice and consistent effort. If you are new to it try these tips:
- Do it first thing in the morning so you don’t keep putting it off as your day gets busier and more unpredictable.
- Don’t worry if you don’t do it perfectly. It takes practice to shut out the outside world and find a calm quiet place inside yourself. Practicing daily will help you master that more quickly.
- As you settle into a meditative pose and begin your breathing, do a simple check of your feelings. Are you feeling rushed, pressured, anxious or sad? Maybe you are excited or very happy. However you feel is okay because with meditation you can learn to let go of the negative to embrace the positive.
- Count your breaths. This will help you bring your focus back if your mind wanders, which is completely normal. Don’t get frustrated with this lack of focus, just keep bringing your focus back to your breath and with time it will become easier to keep your mind still.
Meditation is a simple practice anyone can master and it is a wonderful, do anywhere activity for those looking for stress-management.