This is a guest post by Bridget Webber.
Stress is a massive contributor to ill health and insomnia. In addition, it can decrease people’s enjoyment of life. It is not possible to avoid all stress as it will come your way now and then, despite your efforts to hold it at bay. However, there are at least 10 ways to defeat stress with meditation when it knocks on your door.
- The Joy of Letting Go of Stress
- Tips for Living a Low-Stress Lifestyle
- How to Manage Commitments and Manage Stress
10 Ways to Defeat Stress With Meditation
Deep meditation is difficult when you are under stress, but you will still benefit if you engage in a short, light meditation session. If you are feeling uptight, consider taking a brisk walk and meditate on each step. Feel the ground under your feet and your leg muscles working. Focus on the experience of walking, as this will free your mind from stress.
Breathe deeply and slowly into your abdomen. Feel the air enter your nostrils and travel into your body, and hold your breath for four seconds. Release your breath slowly to the count of four and repeat the exercise.
Step into the shower and let water run over you. Concentrate on the feeling of each drop of water on your skin. Let the water run over your face, and slowly turn so that it trickles down your whole body. Stay in the present moment and experience the cleansing water washing away your stress.
Sit or lie quietly where no one will disturb you. Close your eyes and picture a blank screen in your mind’s eye. Think of a positive word to focus on that encapsulates how you want to feel, and visualize it appearing on the screen. Look at the word as you breathe deeply, and slowly repeat it in your mind with your inner-voice.
Spend time with nature, and concentrate on small details such as the structure, and color of leaves and flowers. Wonder at the beauty of small things in your environment that are not manmade.
Sit quietly by a river, stream, waterfall, or the sea. Then, close your eyes, while listening to sounds around you and breathing in the scent of the environment. Pay attention to what you hear until sounds are loud in your mind and take over your thoughts entirely.
Look closely at a crystal or smooth pebble. Run your vision, and your fingertips, over its shape, seeing and feeling every facet. Concentrate on looking so intently at the crystal or pebble that you know it thoroughly from every angle.
Select a peaceful color to concentrate on, using your inner or outer vision. Look deeply at the color as you breathe slowly. Picture the color filling your lungs and flowing through your body as you inhale.
Select an animal, or bird that you would like to be. Sit comfortably and imagine how you would feel if you were that animal or bird. Visualize how you would look and how it would feel to move around. See through the eyes of your chosen animal or bird and experience being in its body.
Listen to a simple, relaxing piece of music that you find uplifting. Select music that is gentle and evokes a sense of calm. Hear each note with clarity. Focus deeply, and let the music drift over you like a comforting wave.
Carry out one or more of the light meditations above and you will feel calm. In this relaxed state, your mind will gain clarity, and you will be better able to cope with life’s problems.
If you’d like more ways to quiet your mind and lower your stress, check out our Slow it Down class.