browse by topic
meditation and stress reduction
Walking meditation can be just as profound and enlightening as sitting meditation. It helps bring strong awareness to the body and to physical sensations around you. We are not talking about a difficult walk or hike, but simply a walking space that gives you peace and quiet to be mindful and meditate. As has been discussed a few ties now, there are different methods or techniques to meditate. Choosing the one or maybe more methods, that keep you consistently practicing is key. Here is what I mean by walking meditation:
Choose a small, flat path on which to walk back and forth, preferably no more than 10 paces in each direction. I prefer to be outside, as you get the physical sensations from the sun, the wind, the sounds of nature. But if indoors is all you can find, it is just fine.
Before you start moving, stand still for a few moments and consciously bring your attention into your body. Breathe. Notice the sensations of your feet on the ground, the clothes on your body, and the sun and the wind on your skin.
Now, begin walking as slowly as you can while still feeling natural. Keep your attention within the body. When the attention drifts to outside sights or thoughts, which it will, gently bring it back to the movement in the lower half of your body – the soles of your feet on the ground, the bending and extending of the knee and the curl of your toes. For me I add the rhythm of my steps, rhythm of my pace with my breathing.
The simple act or exercise of stepping from foot to foot naturally creates a meditative state. I find a rhythm in my walk, which helps bring that calming state sooner. This state calms the mind and cultivates sharper awareness. Walking meditation can be a fantastic way to bring mindful attention to every part of the day. As I have previously discussed, you can meditate and be mindful in all that you do – from walking, to work, to cooking, or doing the dishes.
The following are examples of instant stress busters, excerpted from Natural Superwoman, by Rosamond Richardson. In a world of go, go, go, these are great tips to remember. They can bring relief to mental, physical and emotional stresses. As always, remember to breathe when stress is present.
Slow down and take your time. Talk, walk or drive at a slower pace.
Call a friend for a long chat.
Escape mentally – read a book, watch a movie or be a sports spectator.
Keep a notebook on you and make lists: being organized is less stressful.
Smile. It relaxes the major facial muscles and releases serotonin from the brain and makes you fell better.
Stop thinking ‘must’ ‘should’ and ‘ought’ for at least an hour.
Sweat out your stress. Take some vigorous exercise class, or dance til you drop.
Write a list of all the essential things you have to do – then stick it on the fridge and leave it until tomorrow.
Look at some wonderful paintings, or paint one yourself.
Change into comfortable clothes.
Help someone. Be really nice to someone.
Get a massage or a pedicure.
Write a rage letter and don’t send it.
Find a safe place to cry. Crying restores the chemical balance of the body.
Drop perfectionism: it stresses you out.
Pet the dog or cat.
Shut the door on the world at least once a day to see you own needs: do some yoga or meditation.
Lie down with a hot wet flannel over your face.
Go away for a weekend.
Lie in a hot tub and add soothing essential oils to the water. Light a candle and dim the lights and breathe.
Turn off your mobile phone.
Sometimes doing nothing is the key to stress.
Express yourself: don’t maintain the stiff upper lip. And don;t lose your sense of humor.
Change your routine – have a beautiful bath mid afternoon.
Cancel your appointments and have a day off.
Collect inspirational quotations and stories and refer to them to lift your spirits.
Guided Meditation Script Part 1
Find yourself a quiet place to sit. Turn off your phone and dim the lights. This is your time. A time for total relaxation and inner stillness.
Take a moment to make sure that you are warm enough, and that you are seated comfortably. Rest your hands loosely in your lap. Now close your eyes.
Take a long slow, deep breath in…hold it for a moment, and then slowly exhale. Just allow any tension to melt away as you gradually relax more and more deeply with each breath.
Take another long slow, deep breath in…hold it, and then exhale. Empty your lungs completely with your out-breath. Take a third deep breath in. Take your time. Hold it for a moment, and then let it go. You can already feel yourself drifting into a state of deep relaxation.
Continue to breathe slowly and gently as you bring your awareness to the top of your head. Just sense or imagine a feeling of relaxation beginning to spread down from the top of your scalp…. feel the muscles in your forehead and temples relax. Allow your eye muscles to release. Let your cheeks and jaw soften and let go of all tension.
Now let this peaceful feeling flow down into your neck. Feel it loosening every muscle and every fibre.
With each breath you take, this relaxing feeling becomes deeper and warmer. It works its way deep into the muscles in your shoulders…soothing them…releasing them.
This peaceful feeling flows down from your shoulders and into your arms. It loosens the muscles in your upper arms…your forearms…your hands…relaxing and soothing…all the way to the tips of your fingers.
As your body relaxes, your mind relaxes, and your thoughts seem to become lighter. You are slipping further and further into a dreamlike state of stillness and relaxation.
Now, bring your awareness to your chest and your stomach. Feel how this area of your body gently rises and falls as you breathe. The peaceful sensation flows throughout this area of your body, soothing every muscle and relaxing every organ.
Turn your attention to your upper back, and feel this relaxing sensation flow all the way down your spine. As it gradually works its way down your body, feel every muscle in your back relax and unwind.
Feel that your entire upper body has become loose, limp and relaxed.
Now feel your hips relax as the peaceful feeling starts to work its way through your lower body. Relax your buttocks…the backs of your thighs…the front of your thighs. Feel all these large, strong muscle groups becoming looser and more relaxed with each passing moment.
Soothing feelings of relaxation flow down through your knees, and into your calves. Your ankles relax. Now your feet relax. Allow your entire lower body to relax completely, and allow any remaining tension from anywhere in your body to flow out through the tips of your toes.
You are comfortable, peaceful, relaxed. Now it’s time to leave the external world behind, and go on an inner journey. A journey to a place of deep inner stillness.
This guided meditation is from http://www.the-guided-meditation-site.com/
I have been researching for options on treating anxiety naturally, and I came back with three common suggestions: eat, meditate and exercise. So what could that refer to in each of those categories? Let us explore that.
Think of a time you felt anxious. Was it a sleepless night spent worrying about an issue? Was it a time when you slipped and fell? Either of those can place your body into a brief state of anxiety, which goes away shortly after the event. This is short term anxiety. However for millions of people, that anxiety can be long term. This sometimes disabling disorder, is known as General Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
How can we reduce the amount of anxiety felt or interrupting our lives? Doctors can prescribe medication and recommend cognitive-behavioral therapy. In a time where some medications can be over prescribed or over used, searching for alternatives is important. You can make a few lifestyle changes, diet, meditation, and exercise, scientifically proven procedures, which allow you to treat anxiety for yourself. I think that these lifestyle changes along with cognitive-behavioral therapy, will give you the greatest relief from anxiety.
Eat a healthy diet. Studies have shown that those who eat a diet high in processed, fast food that include sugary sweets, junk food, caffeine and beer, are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. Those who eat a more healthy diet of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, meat and fish, tend to experience less depression and anxiety. I have read that adding foods such as nuts, poultry, oats, and some dairy, increase the serotonin levels in the brain. Each of these foods contains tryptophan, which helps the body produce serotonin. According to Wikipedia.com, “Biochemically derived from tryptophan, serotonin is primarily found in the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract), blood platelets, and the central nervous system (CNS) of animals, including humans. It is popularly thought to be a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness.” So it only makes sense to eat foods that will naturally help you feel better, right?
Meditate regularly. People who worry a lot have increased reactivity in the brain, that makes regulating emotions, such as fear, a little harder. According to a study conducted by Stanford University, practicing mindfulness can physically reduce neurons in the fear-triggering part of the brain. As an anxious person, you might feel it is hard to sit still and meditate. Many thoughts race through the mind, and that can make the anxiety seem overwhelming. Mindfulness teaches you how to work with the various stressful situations. It takes practice, and that’s why making it a regular habit, results in the best results. It won’t change your anxious feelings over night, but each time you sit and focus on your breathe and calm your body, you are teaching yourself how to self-regulate. When you are placed in a stressful situation, you will be mindful of how your body is reacting and focus on calming those reactive triggers. Meditation works, it just takes regular practice.
Regular exercise can reduce anxiety. I read once that bad anxiety needs good treatment. What could be better than exercise, coupled with meditation and a healthy diet? Just like the healthy diet, studies show that exercise is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration. Exercise enhances the brains overall cognitive function. This can be especially helpful when stress has depleted your energy or ability to concentrate.
Stress affects the brain, with its many nerve connections, making the rest of the body feel the impact as well. If your body feels better, so does your mind. Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins, the chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers. Increasing endorphins improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress.
As we can see, research indicates that you may eat, meditate and exercise your way to a calmer, more relaxed life.
Here are 5 Easy Steps for Mindfulness – to decrease stress in your life
Find a comfortable – quiet location when possible – however you can, and use these steps even at work or in other locations. Sit relaxed.
Set an alarm if you want for 2 to 3 minutes 0- you can make it longer each time if you want; however there are benefits from meditating for 2 minutes.
Find an object to look at or close your eyes. Either technique can be relaxing. Try both so that you can decide which one works best for you.
Breathing is the key to being present with your body and self. Inhale for 3 seconds (say in your mind calming – calming – calming) Hear your breath going into your lungs – hold it for a second, exhale for 5 seconds (say in your mind releasing – releasing – releasing) Hear your breath going out of your lungs.
When done, stretch and hug yourself.
Stress is a part of life – How much you choose to manage it is about CHOICES. Make the CHOICE to meditate for two minutes very day, You can do 2 to 3 minutes several times a day if you would like.
Days can become hectic, life’s struggles build up, and there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to accomplish all that you need? Does this sound like you? Did you know that meditation could be a remedy to the anxiety you may feel? However, could you feel too stressed to meditate? It’s a common excuse and truth. Let’s explore…
Meditation can be one of the greatest ways to reduce stress. It can reset your nervous system, calming your mind which then leads to you being able to manage thoughts, emotions and thought patterns more effectively. Meditation causes the relaxation response in your body to kick in.
Meditation can help with chronic inflammation, borderline high blood pressure, PTSD and it can lower the stress causing hormone, cortisol. But when these issues are activated, the last thing you may be able to do is sit still. Just thinking about sitting still to meditate, may make you anxious! So could there be a minimum amount of meditation that can be done, but still get the stress reducing benefits? I’m not sure that has been determined, however a few studies have been done that reinforce how meditation reduces stress.
For instance, one study has shown that doing an 8 week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction session, can activate the brain increasing memory, sense of self, empathy and reduce stress. Does the thought of an 8 week session add to your stress, does it seem like too much time? Well you’re in luck, another study states that meditating just 25 minutes a day for three consecutive days can be effective in reducing stress. You can get results with any amount of meditation you can handle…thats what I hear!
The first step in meditation is to be present in the moment, to be present in the stress you feel. Take a deep breathe and practice meditation for as long as you can. Be gentle with yourself and don’t get upset if you fall short of your expectations. I fell that the more you try, even in small doses, you will feel the benefits, which will encourage longer sessions. Be disciplined, and be careful to not confuse the compassion you might feel for your overwhelming stress, as an excuse to not meditate. Remember, self discipline is key. Namaste.