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stress reducing meditation
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.
Here are five meditation techniques for a beginner or in regular experienced practice:
- Sit or lie in a relaxed position
- Breathe regularly. You breathe in deep enough to get enough oxygen, this will relax you. When you breathe out, you relax your muscles so that your lungs are well emptied, but do not strain to release the air.
- Stop thinking about everyday problems or matters. Clear your mind.
- Concentrate your thoughts on something like a sound, a repetitive word or mantra, or a feeling or concept that you are experiencing or longing for. All of your attention needs to be placed on the object that you have chosen.
- While in that state of concentration, if foreign thoughts try to creep in, you need to stop the thought, and go back to focusing on the object of your meditation.
Those five meditation techniques are the basics of meditation. There are varying techniques based on the degree of concentration and how you handle those foreign thoughts. Some suggest the practice should be to meditate so intensely that no foreign thoughts are allowed to enter at all. Another practice is to allow the concentration is more relaxed so that foreign thoughts enter your session more easily. When you discover or realize the foreign thought has entered, you simply stop, and go back to the intended or pure meditation in a relaxed manner. It helps you refocus and be aware in your meditation.
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.
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.