Simple Meditation Techniques For Lasting Stress Relief

by Percival J. Meris on December 14, 2009

Meditation Symbol: The Lotus

Photo by Jin Neoh

I f you suffer from constant state of tension and restlessness, you must be stressed. This is just your way of responding to life’s threatening and upsetting situations. It can serve you well by stimulating and motivating you to higher levels of performance under pressure.

However, long-term exposure disrupts the efficient functioning of your body systems. It leads to serious health problems and greater vulnerability to anxiety and depression. Acceleration of the aging process comes as a natural consequence.

Meditation: Antidote to Stress

Physical and emotional stresses are products of your negative perceptions of a situation. Since the source is mental, you need to still your inner mind and veer its attention away from stress-causing thoughts through the practice of meditation.

Meditation is by far the best and the least expensive technique for relieving stress. Body and soul become relaxed and calm. Accumulated stress hormones start to clear away from the bloodstream.

Stress Relief Benefits of Meditation

These negative perceptions trigger an emotional response that elevates cortisol hormone secretion into your bloodstream. You feel this in your body as stress symptoms. Since meditation is a mental exercise designed to put thoughts under control, it is capable of changing your negative perceptions. All emotional and physical responses change with it.

Stress is the by-product of the body’s sustained fight-or-flight response to a given situation. The only way to counter this is to bring about a relaxation response through meditation.

  1. Meditation brings about body relaxation and the subsidence of cortisol level in the bloodstream. Since muscle tension accompanies stress, learning to relax muscles can reduce stress and predispose the body to better health.
  2. Meditative thought control brings about a corresponding increase in emotional control. Peaceful thoughts give you peaceful disposition.
  3. Constant practice increases concentration ability and develops greater mental clarity. The ability to concentrate on a chosen idea shuts out unwanted ideas, especially stress-producing ones. Greater mental clarity prevents stress-producing perception errors.
  4. The wisdom you gain with meditation brings about a deeper understanding of your existence and who you are deep down. When you reach this depth of understanding, you will realize that many of the stressors in your life are mere trivialities and really of less importance compared to who you really are.

How to Perform Stress-Relieving Meditation

At first, control of our thoughts can elude us, and can be very frustrating. You’re even likely to get bored. With constant practice, the exercise will to be easy and enjoyable. There are techniques available to help a busy mind find peace and calmness.

Sitting Meditation

Eliminate distractions. Success in meditation is dependent on the ability to focus the mind upon a particular chosen object of attention. Sources of distractions that can interfere with your focus can be environmental, physical, and mental.

  1. Select a suitable time and place. They should be private, quiet, and unhurried.
  2. Make your body feel comfortable. Wear something comfortable. Be sure you do not feel sleepy during this time. If you are, then get some nap, and return to the exercise when you are ready. A little stretching exercise can relieve some tensions residing in your muscles.
  3. Find a comfortable chair. Sit up erectly with spine and head aligned but not tensed. Place your hands palms down on top of your laps.
  4. Relax your body. Be conscious of the specific parts of your body from the toe up to the head in methodical sequence, and let go as you pass by each.
  5. Remove conflicting thoughts from your mind. Dwell your mind on what is “here and now”, and look at things as they are, not as how you interpret them to be.

Focus your attention. The first step in meditation is concentration of attention on a chosen object or idea. You exclude other thoughts.

  1. Close your eyes gently, and focus your mind on the enjoyment of the pleasant sensation of your relaxed body. If you enjoy the feeling, you may automatically heave a sigh of relief from your stress.
  2. After about 5 minutes, shift the focus of your mind on your breath. As you breathe in slowly, gently, and deeply, imagine the air being inhaled as infusing every cell of your body with high-quality energy. The air being exhaled as relieving, carrying toxins, tensions, and stresses out of the body.
  3. After about 5 minutes, bring to mind a very peaceful scenery, either recalled or constructed, and immerse your whole being in the experience. Delight in the pleasant sensations produced by your relaxed body and the peaceful feelings evoked by the scenery.
  4. Reinforce your gains by uttering in your mind an affirmation that you are now relaxed and peaceful.
  5. You may end the meditation after 15 minutes, or continue if you wish.

You can choose any object you prefer to meditate on. What is important is that it serves the purpose of the exercise. Anything worth meditating on should give you an experience of pleasure.

During the entire operation, keep other thoughts out of the way. If they come, gently shove them away and return to the work at hand without sense of guilt or tendency to scold yourself. With constant practice, you find it progressively easier to do it every time around.

Active Meditation

The practice of meditation need not be confined to a sitting session. It can be done in coincidence with your daily activities. It consists of living totally in the present moment, restricting memories and anticipations to what is essential in carrying out present activities effectively.

Immerse your mind in enjoyment on the details of the task at hand to the exclusion of other concerns. Your progress in sitting meditation skill will bring about better performance in active meditation.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

steveborgman January 2, 2010 at 5:48 am

Meditation is not just a stress reducing technique, as it is often presented in the West (United States). It is a way of life that can greatly improve your entire functioning, body, brain, and soul. The key is to practice daily.

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