Stress is an inevitable fact of life. No matter how hard you try to plan out your day, the unexpected happens and that often causes stress. I highly recommend that you try meditation to reduce stress. I’m sure you’ve heard of meditation, but have you actually tried it for yourself? It’s a lot simpler than you may think. One of my favorite things about meditation is that once you get a little practice, it’s easy to do anytime, anywhere. It can be in your car or in a waiting room. There’s no set amount of time you have to do it to reap the rewards. Even a 30 second meditation when you’re in a high stress situation can be really beneficial. However, you’ll get the most relaxation and stress reduction from meditating if you make it part of your daily routine.
There are lots of different types of meditations you can explore. An easy place to start is either guided meditations or breathing meditations. For guided meditation I suggest you get an app like Calm or Headspace on your smart phone. (My Christian readers might want to check out Abide.) All of these have free daily guided meditations you can use to give it a try. Each app also has a paid option for even more meditation practices. This may be a good option for you if you enjoy the daily practice of this type of meditation. The meditations will gradually get longer and more intense. Think of it as a meditation training program.
The other type of meditation you should try is breathing meditation. I love it because it so flexible and something you can do anytime anywhere after you learn the basics. To begin with, sit down comfortable in a quiet space. While you do your first few practices, you want to cut out as many distractions as possible. Close your eyes and focus your entire mind on your breath. Pay attention to how the air feels flowing in and out of your nose. Or focus on the rising and falling of your abdomen as you breathe. The idea is to tune out everything else and only think about and feel your breath.
Other thoughts will pop into your head. When that happens, just bring your focus back to your breath. Start by meditating this way for five minutes per day and gradually work your way up to a level you’re comfortable with. Make it a daily habit and also do it for 30 seconds or a minute or two whenever you find yourself in a tense and stressful situation.
Another form of meditation to consider is Yoga Nidra. This is a body scan that brings your awareness to various parts of your body and is very relaxing.
Meditation for me is simply the practice of getting the noise out of my head, which reduces stress and helps me to refocus on whatever I’m doing.
Opinions vary about what’s appropriate for meditation. My suggestion would be to check out the free version of whatever resource you’re looking into and see if you’re comfortable with it.