Updated: Jun 1
It is easy to let stress take over your life. From career to family to health to money to any and everything in between, most people feel like there simply isn’t enough time in a day to get everything done. Stress is bad enough in and of itself, but stress can also cause real physical and emotional harm if it is allowed to go unchecked. There are many drugs that are designed to reduce stress, but is putting extra drugs and chemicals in your system really the best way to balance things out? There is a better way to reduce stress in your life.
One of the best and most tried and true ways for reducing stress is through meditation. Though it may sound intimidating, meditation has occurred in every culture in one form or another through out history. The following steps will help you learn to clear your mind and relax, and you will be amazed at how the stress seems to just melt away!
Begin each relaxation time by reducing distractions, noise, and interruptions. Give yourself the time and privacy you need. Find a comfortable sitting position, wear loose and comfortable clothing. Relax and take several deep breathes. Close your eyes and try to mentally focus on one peaceful word, thought, or image. If there is a picture, a memory, anything that tends to calm you, try to picture that. For some people it’s the sound of the ocean, for others waterfalls, and for yet others, the memory of staring off a mountain peak. Clear your head, and let your muscles loosen up, don’t worry about what is going on around you. Relax and enjoy the peace that your image brings to you.
When you feel yourself drifting away from the image, don’t force it to stay. This is a good time to stop. Stretch and exhale deeply as you wrap up. This is the most initial and basic form of meditation. While it would work in and of itself to reduce stress, this is also the basis for several other exercises and meditations. When you choose to push on, you will always want to start with this basic meditation and relaxation. As you go into further exercises, concentrate on whatever phrases help you relax. “Nice and easy,” is a good generic one, while Christian meditation may use a scripture such as “Be still, and know I am the Lord.” There are meditative scriptures for almost any faith, and plenty of non-religious phrases, chants, or incantations. Find the phrase that works for you, and look around for other exercises. Meditation is a great way to relax, and will do more to improve your health and reduce stress than any drug, and the only side effect is a calmer healthier life as a result of your improved mood!