Meditation is a proven technique that can help you with emotional and physical stress. Many people are seeking a healthy and positive way to de-stress, relax, and unwind in these super fast-paced times. We are increasingly under a lot of stress with pressures from work, families, finances and many other issues causing worry and anxiety to escalate. Meditation is a practice that can help reduce stress and anxiety.
Prolonged Benefits of Meditation for Stress Relief
Difficult situations can become more manageable if we learn to focus on the present moment rather than letting anxieties take over. With regular practice, the prolonged benefits of meditation speak for themselves. As the body is restored to its natural state of inner stillness, long-held tensions are released and physical damage can begin to heal. Regular meditation can prevent the negative physical and emotional effects of stress from taking hold. Here are a few of the benefits you can get from a daily meditation practice.
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improves mood
- Improves your focus and concentration
- Improves your ability to regulate emotions
- Improves your self-awareness
- Increases happiness
Mindfulness Techniques for Stress, Depression, and Addictions
Meditation is a simple and effective tool to restore calm to a troubled mind, allowing us to maintain a peaceful inner perspective. Regular meditators find it easier to give up damaging habits and addictions such as alcohol, drugs, and smoking as they achieve inner clarity. Mindfulness techniques are increasingly being used in cognitive therapy, teaching patients how to better cope with stress and depression by practicing awareness of thoughts and bodily sensations.
Meditation Tips for Stress Relief
Anybody can learn to meditate. It can be done anywhere and costs nothing. There are many different techniques you can try, including breath awareness, focusing on sensations in the body, vipassana, mantra meditation, and visualization. Let’s look at a couple of quick tips you can try for relaxation and stress relief.
Focus on the breath
When starting out with meditation, many people find that a simple technique such as focusing on the breath is the best way to calm the mind. Just sitting quietly in a place where there are no distractions, allowing the body to relax and the mind to settle.
Focus on the breath, gently bringing your mind back to the present moment whenever it wanders. Breathe deeply and evenly, letting go of tensions as you exhale. Try the following silent mantra as you inhale and exhale. As you breathe in, think ‘peace’ and as you breathe out, ‘release’. As your mind darts here, there, and everywhere, you should remind yourself that this is entirely natural! Try not to judge yourself but instead recognize that each time you notice that the mind has wandered it is a moment of clarity and awareness. This is what meditation is all about. It is not about having a completely quiet mind but is about noticing when your mind has wandered and then returning your focus to the breath.
Another quick tip for relaxation is a body scan meditation. Like the breath meditation, this can be done anywhere. Start at your feet and focus on each part of your body in turn, working up towards your head. This can be a simple mindful exercise where you just notice any feelings and sensations as they come up. Or you can try to actively relax each body part and release any tension as you go. By the time you have covered your whole body you should be significantly relaxed.
Guided Meditation Apps
When first starting out with meditation some people can find it difficult to focus and relax. This is where some guidance may be beneficial. Pick one of the many meditation apps available and do a guided meditation to help you relax. For beginners, we find Headspace a great place to start. Another great app is Stop Breathe & Think.
For more on how to start a meditation practice, read these articles: