What do you do when you’re stressed out?
Hit the bar and drink few glasses of alcohol?
Go outside where nobody’s around and smoke?
Just bury yourself under the blanket until time heals everything?
Do they work for you?
Or they just make you numb for a few hours and then you’re back to your emotional wreck condition?
I’m pretty sure that they don’t work and they only solve your problem temporarily.
After all, many health experts confirmed that substance abuse, overeating, smoking, and running away are all negative ways to deal with stress.
They don’t cure you. They make it worse.
But, there are many positive ways to relieve stress instead.
They’re way more healthy and sometimes even more fun!
But… I understand why some of you still choose the negative stress relief…
I understand that stress strip you out of your energy and sanity
Who can get up and exercise when they’re stressed? Or cook a healthy meal? Sometimes you don’t even want to get up from your bed!
Well, we have a solution for you.
If you’re too tired for any physical-based stress relief, then there is one that actually requires you to stay still for a period of time!
And the name is meditation.
I’m sure you have many excuses not to do positive stress relief.
Well, I understand that meditation doesn’t sound as tempting as wine or burger or lying in bed doing nothing.
But, that’s because you don’t know about meditation yet.
Meditation has been exists for thousands of years.
This is one reason to believe in meditation. It works. If it isn’t, it won’t survive those thousands of year.
It’s simple and inexpensive. It doesn’t need any special equipment either. You can do it exactly just as people thousands years ago did it.
But, it doesn’t mean that meditation gets old.
No. Actually, we as the generation who live with endless information from the advancement of technology (including, yes, call from boss in the weekend to help his work, spam email from numerous business partners, and text from your spouse remind you that today is your turn to watch the kids) probably need it more than those who invented meditation themselves.
So, why don’t we trust this simple positive method of stress relief?
Get to know meditation
Positive Ways to Relive Stress
Defining meditation is a bit tricky.
Most of you will associate meditation as sitting with logs crossed and hands forming an “o” in the stomach.
But, actually meditation is pure a mental exercise.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re lying down or standing or even walking. Monks are even known to meditate while climbing up to the monastery in the mountain.
Instead of physical exercise, meditation is a practice where you focus your attention and eliminate your mess of thought inside your mind.
It will give you a sense of calmness, peace, and serenity inside. It helps boosting your mental health. And, somehow, it even affect your physical well being as well.
There are scientific records that show how meditation help to manage symptoms from anxiety disorder, asthma, sleep disorder, high blood pressure, heart disease, and even cancer.
Go within every day and find the inner strength so that the world will not blow your candle out. (Katherine Dunham)
How meditation relieve stress ?
Do you know how you get stress?
When you encounter stressful situation, your mind triggers a fight or flight reaction in your body, causing physical change such as increased heart rate and blood pressure. It works out your nerve. In general, it tires your body out.
Meditation will soothe this jumpy nerves and send message to your body to relax – decreasing your heart rate and blood pressure. You will be physically better because of this.
Meditation will also de-clutter your mind from various thought that wears you out.
Meditation is even good for your brain. Neuroscientist found out that your brain changes form when you do meditation continuously. It changes the way you react to threat.
When you’re stressed, a part of your brain called amygdala is activated. But after you meditates, they found out that the activity of amygdala is reduced and instead a more active pattern is found in pre-frontal cortex, part of brain that manages emotion.
This is how meditation helps you calm down. It helps you manage your emotion – reducing the negative one (goodbye, anger, self pity, and anxiety) and let the more positive one out (hello, positive thinking and optimism!).
Positive Ways to Relive Stress
So, are you still doubtful?
Why don’t you just try it?
After all, you have nothing to lose for trying meditation.
Follow our tips below!
A quiet setting
Basically, meditation is an action where you focus your attention only on one thing, leaving everything behind. But, for first timer, this is easier to say than to do. And then, when they try, they just don’t know how it work!
To help you focus, especially if you’re a first timer, a quiet setting will leave out major sense distraction.
Quiet setting doesn’t mean you have to go to a quiet mountain top to meditate. No.
You can just stay in your room. Plug off your electronic device and turn off your mobile.
Maybe you want to turn off the lamp, to avoid anything distracting your eyes.
When there’s nothing to distract your sense, it will be easier to focus on one thing: your breath or your body or your mantra chant.
Of course, later when you’re more skilled in controlling your mind, you can even practice meditation in the middle of traffic jam or crowded subway. But for now, be easy to yourself!
Meditation is like a gym in which you develop the powerful mental muscles of calm and insight. (Ajahn Brahm)
Although poses don’t matter in meditation, if you only start your journey in meditation, having comfortable position helps.
You can find out your favorite position yourself. Maybe you like to lay in your bed so you won’t get easily tired and distracted when you get stiff.
Maybe laying down makes you sleepy instead so you prefer sitting down in lotus position. It makes you feel more serious about meditation.
Think about your position within the room.
Maybe you love to sit in the middle of the room to feel as if you’re the center? Or you prefer to be in the corner so you can oversee your room?
Meditation is about you, so feel free to choose whichever position you feel comfortable with!
This is optional but if you think they can enhance your meditation experience, feel free to add them!
You can light an aromatic candle or apply some aromatic oil to your skin so you can be more relaxed as you inhale the relaxing scent. Make sure to choose essential and organic oil if you want to apply them directly at your skin. Radha Beauty’s Aromatherapy Top 6 Essential Oils Premium Kit is a good example for aromatherapy.
Now it’s time to get into business
Positive Ways to Relive Stress
Possibly the easiest technique to help you learn meditation is breathing. Follow the instruction below to breathe.
Close your eyes. Focus on breathing.
Inhale. Feel the air entering your body through nose, throat, goes straight to your chest.
Hold your breath. Feel how your chest burn with oxygen. Feel that oxygen spread from your lungs to every cell in your body.
Exhale. Feel the air leaving your body.
Don’t think about anything else. Just keep your attention to your breathing.
If you find your thought wander somewhere, don’t worry. You did nothing wrong. Just return your focus immediately.
Body scan meditation
Body scan also trains your focus and tunes in your mind with your body.
Almost like breathing, but this time you’re focusing on your body. Follow the instruction below.
Feel your body with your mind, one part at a time, gradually from head and then down, or from toe and then up (up to you).
Feel that part with your mind. Is it hurt? Is it okay? Is it tense?
If you feel not good there, relax that part. Don’t tense the muscles.
For example, if your neck feels stiff, don’t strain. Let the muscles fall.
If you need help from your hand to massage it, do it.
Repeat the steps until you finish scanning your entire body.
Mantra train your focus, but this time with the help of designated word that you choose yourself.
You can choose your own mantra. It can be a simple word of appreciation to yourself like ‘I’m loved’ or ‘I’m happy’. If you’re a religious person, maybe you’d want to recite a prayer in your religion.
You’ll start the meditation practice by closing your eyes.
Take a deep breath. As you feel oxygen enter your body, in your mind recite your mantra. Recite it not too loud but not too silent. You have to hear the words with your ear.
Hold your breath for a moment. Feel the mantra seep into your mind.
Exhale. Repeat until you feel calmer.
Hand motion meditation
Just like its name, hand motion meditation focus on the movement from your hands only. Why only the hand? That is because the intention of this meditation is to make small movement, as opposed to the big events around your life that stressed you out.
To do it, you can start by flinging your hand slowly. This is a shaking movement as if you’re trying to get rid of water in your fingertips. Start to take a deep breath and put your hands, palms up, on your thighs. Repeat the deep breath.
After your thought start to calm down, lift your hands up. Continue to take deep breath and imagine the energy you get from breathing channeled into your hands.
Turn your palms toward each other slowly and until they meet in front of your chest. Apply gentle pressure to each other and hold this position while you continue to breathe.
After you feel significantly calmer than before, let your hand rest and end the meditation.
Walking meditation is done by, well, walking. The point of the meditation is to find inner peace even in during continuous movement.
The meditation start with standing. Just stand on a spot. Feel the energy in your body that allow you to stand without falling down.
After you’re aware of the energy, start walking in slow pace. There is no science on how to walk. Just walk like you would walk. But, you have to notice and become aware of your body movement – from the weight on your soles, the bent on your joints in knees, the flexing of the muscles in your feet and stomach as you walk. As you’re being aware, you’ll start feeling more peaceful.
After some time, allow yourself to stop and rest. Don’t stop abruptly, just slowly slow your pace until you stop. Then appreciate again the energy that let you stand. Repeat until necessary.
Combine with physical exercise: yoga
For even more powerful effect of meditation, you can combine it with physical activity. How do you combine them? By doing yoga of course!
Yoga incorporate many physical poses that is beneficial for your body and at the same time you are guided to meditate during each pose. The effect? Both healthy body and even healthier mind.
What’s even better is that yoga is not difficult to learn. You can find guide and resources for yoga everywhere – in the book store, in the internet, even in TV program. Make sure to choose the one that’s suitable for you.
We recommend you to check ShapeShifter Yoga by Kris Fondran, Yoga for Healing by Tera Bucasas to start your yoga practice, or Light on Yoga by B.K.S Iyengar if you want to start learning yoga.
Meditation is like giving a hug to ourselves, getting in touch with that awesome reality in us. While meditating we feel a deep sense of intimacy with God, a love that is inexplicable. (Paramahamsa Yogananda)
Is meditation your answer to stress?
After knowing more about meditation, don’t you want to be able to feel calm and in control in your fast paced, hectic modern life?
There are many positive ways to relieve stress but meditation is possibly the oldest one.
What do you think about meditation? Are you interested to try? Or have you actually try?
Share your story and opinion in the comment section below!