Discover some Meditation Techniques to help ease your stress
There have been so many studies on stress levels throughout the world that it is not an exaggeration to say that stress levels are one of the things society stresses most about. People become stressed for various reasons – health, financial issues, work and family pressures – and the mere state of being stressed out can cause additional stress when trying to cope with the multiple stress triggers and issues in their lives.
When we are stressed, our day-to-day interactions with co-workers, family, and friends become compromised, the length and quality of sleep diminish, and our general health declines.
A person can apply strategies to deal with stress, including increasing organizational skills to add order to a busy life, delegation of tasks, and simple deep breathing exercises. In more extreme cases, sometimes anti-anxiety medications are prescribed, or therapy is recommended.
One stress-coping mechanism becoming more and more popular is meditation. Meditation is gaining popularity as a stress reliever and alternative medicine to deal with specific medical issues and increase general health. Additionally, some schools are starting to integrate meditation into the classroom to help students find focus, deal with anxiety, and reduce stress. Some teachers believe that meditation helps increase brain function and create new pathways for learning.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is the process of focusing one’s mind on reaching a heightened state of awareness and calm. Meditation is a mental exercise that differs from simply “zoning out” for a bit of time because to meditate effectively; you must do so with a purpose and a level of Mindfulness.
Whether you have dabbled in meditation, or if the extent of your meditation experience is knowing something about the word “om,” meditation is something everyone can learn to do. The numerous benefits of meditation make it worth trying. According to www.artofliving.org, some of the benefits of meditation, which can be both physical and emotional, include:
- Lower stress levels
- Increased attention span
- An increase in immunity
- Improves metabolism, which helps you lose weight
- It helps you sleep better and wake up feeling rested
- It helps you feel more connected to the world around you
- Improves brain function
The science behind the benefits of meditation is still developing. Still, a study in China showed strong evidence that meditation works because the practice of meditating increases blood flow to certain key areas in the brain. With the rising costs of health care, it would not be surprising to see more studies on meditation and other alternative types of treatment options.
Where Does Meditation Come From?
It is believed that meditation has a deep and ancient history, possibly going as far back as the earliest days of civilization. Early writings allude to traditions of quiet reflection in societies; ancient paintings depict people in various poses that sociologists believe reflect meditative poses. In a study reported in Psychology Today, Dr Robert Puff pointed out that meditation is a part of every major world religion.
Although meditation is often connected to Eastern religions, like Buddhism and Hinduism, there are references in the Christian Bible, the Quran, and Jewish religious sects to meditation. Meditation has evolved throughout time, and now it is closely identified with Indian scriptures and the teachings of Buddha.
The practise of meditation has gained popularity in the past 40 to 50 years, and many scientists and doctors study the benefits meditation can have on serious illnesses and general health.
You do not have to subscribe to a specific religion to practice meditation, and while it may be a good choice to have a meditation teacher or take class, you can learn meditation on your own. People of all ages, races and fitness levels can practice meditation, and you do not need much space or time to do it effectively.
How Do I Begin?
I mentioned that meditation is a process of focusing the mind. This is called “mindfulness,” and it is the most popular form of meditation. According to www.noetic.org,” Mindfulness is found in many contemplative traditions, but is most often identified with the Theravadan Buddhist practise of vipassana , or ‘insight meditation.” Mindfulness meditation techniques include the following:
- Focus on an object. The object can be anything from an actual object to one’s breath, feelings, or body sensations.
- Breathe deeply, close your eyes, and try to focus only on one specific object for a specific period. Depending on how long you want to meditate, you can meditate in this way for one minute or an hour – it is up to you.
By focusing on one object or action, by being mindful of one thing for some time, your mind will be focused, increasing concentration, relieving stress, and providing a sense of calm. Mindfulness meditation is also a form of meditation taught and practised by some Buddhists.
One of the traits of Buddhist meditation techniques is focusing on breathing itself to obtain a state of meditative absorption called dhyana.
Transcendental meditation is one of the meditation techniques for stress, and the transcendental meditation technique is also said to reduce anxiety, mood disorders, and even hypertension (high blood pressure).
Transcendental meditation is traditionally practised for about 20 minutes, two times per day. The individual closes their eyes and sits comfortably in a quiet, calm environment. With the eyes closed, the person repeats a mantra, a word or a sound repeated to enhance concentration and focus the mind.
Chakra Meditation Techniques
The foundation of chakra meditation believes that the body is a physical representation of a person’s beliefs, thoughts and emotions. The entirety of a person’s body is then composed of chakra centres that reflect these metaphysical attributes.
There are many different chakra centres, but according to www.wellbeingalignment.com, there are seven main chakras that more or less direct a person’s life. Additionally, each chakra emits its colour that those who practice chakra meditation say is visible. The seven main chakras, the elements they represent, and their colour are:
- Crown Chakra – linked with awareness and “oneness.” Violet or pure white light.
- Brow Chakra – inner vision, linked with the idea of a “third eye.” Indigo.
- Throat Chakra – an expression of thoughts, wants and needs. Shades of blue.
- Heart Chakra – love. Green or pink.
- Solar Plexus Chakra – self-esteem and personal power. Yellow.
- Sacral Chakra – creativity and innocence. Orange.
- Root Chakra – family, the physical earth, and sexuality. Red.
When a person utilizes chakra meditation techniques, the person focuses on the area that needs attention. So, for example, if you get in a fight with your significant other, instead of dwelling on your anger toward the other person, you would meditate on the various chakras that deal with romantic love, interpersonal relationships, expression, or whatever chakra might apply to your situation.
Which Form of Meditation is Correct?
There is no proven, correct way to meditate. There are many more forms of meditation exercises and philosophies than those listed above. The fact that meditation began centuries ago and that evidence of meditative practices can be seen in almost every culture.
Religion shows that meditation is a time-tested process that is almost a natural stress response. Some people pray, some people nap, and some people daydream about a better life, but in a way, these are all forms of meditation.
Taking the time to learn about what form of meditation speaks to you can help you reduce stress and live a happier, possibly longer life.