You are about learn meditation techniques for stress that you can put into practice literally minutes from now. I’ll assume stress has already had an impact on your body and mind and that you seek fast relief.
We’ll use a few meditation techniques to de-stress now and then use them to keep stress from getting to you in the future.
Breathing meditation technique for stress
The simplest of the meditation techniques for stress involves focusing on your breathing. We are often woefully unaware of the quality of our breathing. Stress is likely accompanied by shallow breathing.
When we begin to direct conscious focus on the breath we become acutely aware of how we clamp down on and restrict the breathing process. By exercising focus on the breathing during meditation, we can identify the problem and let go and let breathe.
Initially let’s try about 5 -7 minutes of focused awareness on the breath and over the days to come we’ll work up to 20 minutes per meditation techniques. Set a timer so you won’t need to count in your mind.
Start by sitting quietly
Start by sitting quietly in a straight back chair with your back straight and feet touching the floor. Rest your palms gently in your lap. Simply become aware of your breathing. Notice the air enter through your nostrils and fill your lungs. Really become aware. Notice the sensation of your chest filling up with enriching oxygen. Become acutely aware of the feeling of the in-breath all the way.
If you find yourself distracted by a thought or image, just notice that it is so and resume your constant awareness of the in-breath.
Become aware of the temperature of the air
Now continue to focus on the breath as it leaves you. Become aware of the temperature of the air. Notice the feeling in your ribcage as the air is expelled out the mouth. Notice if at any point you are forcing or limiting or holding on to the breath. Don’t use any effort, simply watch the breath do it’s thing.
Remember that when a thought bubbles up to distract you from your awareness of the breath, simply return to where you where you were. Expect that this will happen over and over.
Every time you notice and return…
Every time you notice and return your awareness to the breathing, you de-stress a little more. Each time you notice and return, your ability to respond to new stress in the future increases. Practicing this meditation technique for stress will both alleviate and prevent stress from taking hold of you in the future.
If you are earnest and practice daily, you will develop an uncanny ability to become aware when your breathing is not relaxed and to immediately focus to rectify the situation.
Don’t judge yourself
Don’t judge the number of moments that you will fail to be aware of how shallow your breath is. Practice regularly and your ability will improve without a doubt.
Personally counting 1-2-3 to stay focused on the in and out-breath isn’t helpful, however many find this useful. If you choose this method remember to make absolutely no effort to control or regulate the breath – just become aware of your breathing as is.
I find counting in my mind hacks away at my awareness even slightly. Try with or without counting to see what works best for you.
Body scanning meditation technique for stress
This body scanning meditation technique will relieve stress in minutes. Start wherever you are if you can find a quiet space and be uninterrupted for 10 minutes.
Your body position in this meditation technique is not as your ability to remain focused. If the meditation’s often depicted lotus or cross legged positions are too daunting, simply sit on a chair.
Seek out a quiet place
Wherever you are; seek out a quiet place. Try to sit upright in a flat back chair with your feet firmly on the floor and with your hands resting softly in your lap.
Start by becoming aware of your toes. Really become aware of how your toes feel right now. Are they cold or warm? As you put attention on your toes do you feel blood circulating? Try to become aware of the blood flowing in your toes. As you give attention to them you’ll find you can feel the circulation.
Only when you have attained solid focus on the toes begin scanning the rest of your feet and calves and so on. You will be continuing with the awareness of each area as described with the toes until you’ve completed scanning your entire your body.
Become aware of the blood flowing
As you become aware of each area just become aware of the blood flowing in that area and how that feels. Be aware of the warmth and tingling that this circulation produces in that area.
Whenever thoughts arise to distract and remove your focus from the body scan, simply notice that it has happened and calmly return your focus to the body scan. You will likely have to do this repeatedly especially when you first start practicing this technique.
Return to the awareness of your body’s warmth
Remember that whenever your you get caught up in a thought notice it has happened and return to the awareness of your body’s warmth and the sensation of the circulation.
Keep stress at bay
Every time you practice this body scanning meditation technique you will ground yourself in the present moment and keep stress at bay.
You’ll realize that when grounded in the now and free of thoughts of fear and worry (future) as well as regrets and resentments (past), then your mind will be at peace.
As with the breathing technique, don’t become frustrated when multiple emerging thoughts attempt to take your focus away from the body. Don’t engage with thought as that empowers the thought. Rather simply and calmly witness the thought and then return your awareness back to the body scan. Find more about this exercise here.
By practicing this meditation technique daily your self awareness will increase significantly. You’ll have a new found ability to calmly observe and stay objective to thoughts that previously stressed you out!
These thoughts lose their ability to create a negative emotional response and rob you of your ability to stay calm in ongoing stressful situations. Your ability to respond properly will keep stress from getting inside you which lead to all kinds of destructive effects on your body.
Mind’s eye meditation technique for stress
Here’s another simple but effective meditation technique to battle stress. Begin in a similar fashion to the body scan meditation. Find a quiet place where you can practice undisturbed. Sit on a chair with your back straight and your feet making contact with the floor.
Place your hands in your lap softly.with palms facing upwards. Take a few deep breaths and relax. Now with your eyes closed, focus your attention on the spot in the middle of your forehead above the eyebrows.
As if looking at the screen in a dark movie theatre
Don’t strain your eyes. Simply notice that area as if looking at the screen in a dark movie theatre.
Watch as images and thoughts appear on that screen in your mind’s eye. Be aware that like watching images on a movie screen, you always remain separate from the movie.
Like a suspense thriller…
When a movie is compelling it grabs your awareness and you feel as if you are involved in the action. Like a suspense thriller that has you anxious for the actors, one can become completely involved and lost in the film. Skillful film makers and storytellers thrive because they understand this.
So the purpose of this concentration meditation is for you to remain aware and objective to the thoughts that will constantly appear on the screen of your mind’s eye.
You are not involved in the movie
Like watching the images and scenes on a movie screen but remaining aware that you are watching but not involved in the movie, thoughts will not draw you in and cause an emotional response.
As you continue to practice the observation meditation, you will increase your ability to remain objective to all manner of images, ideas and thoughts that arise in your mind all day long.
By becoming more aware and detached from those ideas, your ability to remain calm and together absolutely combat stress from penetrating you and having profound negative effects.
Train your mind during the meditation to witness the screen
As you train your mind during the meditation to witness the screen in your mind’s eye but remaining objective to it, you will find the same ability in your day to day living.
As you move through your day interacting with others, thoughts and impressions will arise. Some will be negative and stress inducing but now you will be prepared to swiftly deal with a new found objectivity. You’ll remain separate from the thoughts and therefore they can’t influence you.
Practice the mind’s eye meditation technique and your ability to remain objective throughout your day will improve unbelievably. You’ll no longer be influenced by fears and worries and anticipations that had previously harmed your psyche.
Practice on daily basis and be amazed
If you practice any one of these exercises daily, you’ll immediately cultivate an ability to be aware of and remain separate and objective to stress producing thoughts. Before making the meditation exercises a regular part of your life, thoughts were able to draw your attention away and have you experience negative emotional states.
Unresolved issues will spontaneously bubble to the surface allowing you to have profound insights while forgiving others. This new awareness will assist in not allowing new destructive thought patterns from making their home inside you.
How often should I meditate?
You won’t need to be convinced to practice any of these meditation techniques when you see how quickly you’ll notice the positive effects in your life. You’ll feel more calm, content and confident that you can deal with stressful situations.
Start practicing any of these meditation exercises for at least 10 minutes daily then gradually work up to 20 minutes. Once a day to start either morning or before bedtime. Again after seeing the early results in your life, you’ll likely choose to do both morning and night.
Early morning meditation helps you to get grounded
Early morning meditation helps you to get grounded and able to meet the first wave of stressful challenges your day will inevitably bring. You’ll also have increased awareness to stay objective in order to be unaffected by negative influences.
Practicing the meditation techniques for stress at bedtime is a practical way to observe and let go of any stress accumulated that day despite your best efforts to remain objective. You’ll sleep much easier after witnessing and letting go of negative thoughts, ideas and assorted residue.
Don’t become frustrated throughout your day as different and compelling thoughts easily draw your attention away. Just become increasingly aware as awareness itself is curative. Don’t do battle with thoughts; just observe them and stay distant and they lose their strength. Make it a daily goal to just witness thoughts dispassionately. That alone will have a huge positive impact.
Your growth will be exponential
Your growth will be exponential as you gain more moment to moment awareness. It will become easier to observe irritants calmly and as a result gain control over your stress. While meditating you just get a glimpse of the kind of changes that will occur in your life. Others around you will notice both subtle and not so subtle things and actually ask “what’s different about you?” You may choose to share this or simply smile.
If you’re reading this and aren’t convinced, take a leap of faith. Try any of these meditation exercises and you’ll put into effect a new way of relating to the world around you.
If you practice meditating and your intent is pure, there’s no possible way you can’t benefit. Train your mind to remain objective to all thoughts and you’ll regain control over those thoughts that cause you such stress. Your well being depends on it!