If stress is the main reason for all your worries, tension, and anxiety, then you should seriously consider trying meditation for stress relief. Even if you manage to spend a few minutes every day meditating, you will see that your inner peace and calm are slowly being restored.
The best part about meditation is that anyone with time and the will can practice it. It is also inexpensive as it does not require any special equipment.
Moreover, you can practice meditation for stress and anxiety relaxation wherever you are, like when you are out for a walk, waiting at your doctor’s office, on the bus, or even in the middle of a difficult meeting.
LET US BEGIN BY UNDERSTANDING MEDITATION
Meditation is not a new concept. It has been practiced literally for thousands of years. It was originally meant to help understand the various sacred and mystical aspects of our lives. These days meditation is commonly recommended for alleviating anxiety and stress.
Meditation is considered to be a body-mind complementary medicine in that it can produce a deep state of relaxation and a peaceful mind.
And if you ask “what does meditation do for stress” relief, the answer is simple. It helps you focus your attention and eliminate the constant stream of miscellaneous thoughts that crowd your mind, causing stress and anxiety. Practicing it regularly can improve your overall physical and emotional health.
VARIOUS TYPES OF MEDITATION
There are different types of meditation that you can practice to achieve a relaxed state of being. There are a wide variety of meditation techniques that consist of meditation components. However, all of them can help you to achieve your goal of complete inner peace.
Following are the different types of and ways to meditate:
Also referred to as guided imagery or visualization, this meditation method guides you to form images of situations or places in your mind that you find to be very peaceful and relaxing.
You make use of all your senses, including sound, smells, sights, and textures, for evoking a sense of calmness. And as the name suggests, you will be guided through this process by a trained guide.
Guided meditation for stress and anxiety relaxation is becoming popular by the day, just like mindfulness meditation which is discussed below.
This type of meditation revolves around being mindful and having an increased acceptance and awareness of living in the present moment.
Mindfulness meditation broadens your conscious awareness and helps you to focus on the experiences that you have during the meditation, like the flow of your breath.
Mindfulness can reduce any fixation on negative emotions, improve focus, lessen impulsive and emotional reactions, etc.
The trick in mindfulness meditation is to allow your thoughts and emotions to flow without passing any judgment.
A Sanskrit term, mantra, consists of “man” meaning mind and “tra,” meaning release.
You can think of a mantra – a phrase or a word that you repeat silently during the meditation – as a tool that helps you to release your mind.
This meditation is beneficial for those who have trouble concentrating or preventing distracting thoughts.
Yoga originated in India, and it involves performing a series of controlled postures and breathing exercises. It helps you in becoming more flexible and also promotes a calm mind.
As the different poses require concentration and balance, you automatically shift your focus from your hectic day to the postures and the breathing exercises.
Also referred to as Metta meditation, it helps you in cultivating an attitude of love and kindness towards everyone and everything, even your enemies and the different sources of stress.
While you breathe deeply, you will be opening up your mind to receiving loving-kindness. You can then send messages of loving kindness directed towards the world. The important thing to do here is repeating the messages until you feel an attitude of loving-kindness.
This meditation helps in increasing positive emotions and also reduces stress and PTSD.
This type of meditation is a popular form of meditation. It is more customizable when compared to mantra meditation, and it includes the use of a mantra or a phrase that is specific to the practitioner.
You can practice Transcendental Meditation twice a day for 15 to 20 minutes while sitting with your eyes closed. The goal of this meditation is to transcend your current state of being.
Many people who practice this type of meditation have reported having experienced heightened mindfulness and a reduction in stress levels.
THE BENEFITS THAT COME WITH MEDITATION
When you practice meditation for stress relaxation, you get a sense of inner peace and calm that is highly beneficial for alleviating your anxieties and improving your emotional well-being. Not only that, but meditation also enhances your overall physical health as well.
Moreover, the benefits do not end when a meditation session ends. It helps you to be calm throughout the day and might even help you to manage symptoms of specific medical conditions.
EMOTIONAL BENEFITS OF MEDITATION
Practicing meditation for stress and anxiety relief helps to clear away all the thoughts that overload your mind and ultimately result in stress.
Given below are some of the emotional benefits of meditation:
- Meditation helps you to build skills so that you can manage your stress.
- It helps in gaining a new perspective on situations that are stressful.
- Meditation also increases self-awareness, tolerance, and patience.
- It helps you to focus on the present.
- It reduces negative emotions.
- Finally, it helps to increase your imagination and creativity.
MEDITATION AND ILLNESS
Meditation can be helpful for certain medical conditions, especially one that might be worsened by stress.
Although there are a growing number of scientific research that supports the health benefits of meditation, some researchers still believe that it is not possible to come to any definite conclusion on the benefits of meditation.
Keeping that in mind, there are some researches that do suggest that meditation might help manage symptoms of conditions like:
- Heart disease
- Tension headaches
- High blood pressure
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Sleep problems, etc.
Make sure that you consult with your doctor about the pros and cons of practicing meditation in case you have any of the above conditions or any other health problems for that matter. This is because, in some instances, meditation can make symptoms associated with some physical and mental health conditions worse.
(NOTE: Meditation is in no way a replacement for medical treatments. However, it can be used as an addition to other treatments.)
A BRIEF LOOK AT SOME OF THE WAYS YOU CAN PRACTICE MEDITATION ON YOUR OWN
It is important to remember that if you frequently wonder how to meditate for stress relief the right way, it will only add to your stress. If you want, you can join special meditation classes where an instructor will train you, or you can practice on your own.
It would be best if you also made meditation as formal or informal so that it suits your lifestyle. There are individuals who include meditation in their daily routine and practice for an hour every day. But you can just spend a few minutes of your quality time meditating.
Following are some of the ways you can practice meditation on your own:
This way of practicing meditation to relieve stress and anxiety is probably the simplest, especially for beginners, mainly because breathing is a natural function.
Here, it would help if you focused all your attention on your inhale and exhale through nostrils. Breathe both deeply and slowly, and whenever your attention wanders off, gently return it to your breathing.
SCANNING YOUR BODY
In this technique, you have to focus your attention on different parts of your body. Slowly become aware of the different bodily sensations, whether it’s tension, relaxation, pain, or warmth.
You can combine body scanning with different breathing exercises as well. For example, you can imagine breathing heat or relaxation in and out of your body.
COMBINE WALKING AND MEDITATION
This is probably the most efficient and healthy way to relax. You can walk and meditate anywhere you want, like on the sidewalk or in a tranquil forest.
While using this method, you must slow down the pace at which you are walking so that you can focus on the movement of your feet or legs. Also, do not focus on any particular destination.
Just concentrate on your legs and feet and repeat action words in your mind like “lifting,” “moving,” and “placing” as you lift, move, and place your foot on the ground.
FOCUSSING YOUR LOVE, COMPASSION, AND GRATITUDE
This method requires you to focus your attention on a sacred image or being while building into your thoughts, feelings of love, compassion, and gratitude. If you want, you can also keep your eyes closed and use your imagination or gaze at a representation of the image.
START DEVELOPING YOUR MEDITATION SKILLS
If you practice meditation, it is essential not to be harsh on yourself or even judge your skills. This will only increase your stress.
Meditation takes practice!!
It is not unusual for your mind to wander off while you are practicing meditation for stress relaxation, and it does not matter how long you have been practicing. If your goal is to calm your mind and reduce stress, then slowly bring back your attention to the object, movement, or sensation you are focusing on.
Also, don’t shy away from trying different techniques to find out what best suits you. There is absolutely no right or wrong way of meditating as long as it helps you reduce your stress and anxiety.