Stressed? Here's 3 Types of Meditation to Relieve It
If you’re stressed out and overwhelmed with the things that are going on in your life, then consider meditation. Meditation can be helpful to you in being able to completely clear your mind of your typical worries or concerns and get to know yourself better. Although it may be a bit difficult in the beginning if you’re not used to it, once you develop a regular meditation practice, you’ll have a positive impact on your stress levels as it helps you to relax and will help you manage your stress before your stress manages you. I know that when I first started, I had a hard time sitting for 20 minutes at a time to meditate, so I started small. First 3 minutes, then 5 then 10 and worked my way up. You can do the same.
First, I’m going to talk about several different types of meditation, then, I’ll get to the tips.
Who Knew There Were So Many Types Of Meditation?
A lot of people heard the word meditation and think that it means sitting crossed legged while chanting ohm and trying not to think. While that might be true for some, there are a wide variety of ways to meditate – it’s all about choosing the one form of meditation that works for you. You should consider trying a few types, because you never know, where one type of meditation might be difficult and feel like a drag even over time another type might be a breeze.
It's important to remember that because meditation is not something that is always easy to do, you won’t get it perfect from the beginning. No matter what type you choose, it’s going to take a bit to find your groove.
Here are some different types of meditation to consider:
Mantra – In Mantra meditation you choose a word or phrase that has deep meaning for you which becomes your mantra. When relaxing your mind, simply repeat this mantra repeatedly until your mind starts clearing of what is causing you stress. One of my favorite mantras is “inner peace.” It really helps relax me so that I can manage my stress levels when I’m in or going into a stressful situation.
Guided – This is one of the classic forms of meditation that people think of. In this type of meditation, you’re guided through different images in your mind, such as walking through a forest and listening to the birds in the trees or feeling your feet in the warm sand of a beach and hearing waves crash next to you. This can be something you do on your own, with a therapist, a recording or an app. Guided meditation can be an easy way to dip your toes into the pool of meditation practices.
Mindfulness – Mindfulness is something that’s very popular nowadays. Mindfulness is a state of being where you have full awareness of your mental and physical faculties. In mindfulness, you look to your thoughts and feelings and let them be experienced without being judgmental about what they are. Mindfulness is also easy to incorporate into your everyday life by putting more of your focus and full attention into things such as the food that you eat, words that you use and your general way of being.
3 Meditation Tips
When you start meditating for stress management, you first need to choose the right time. When instituting a meditation practice, you should do it every day in order to become accustomed to it and for it to become a habit. Choose a time of day when you can be alone in a quiet space and not be distracted. It's important to make the time for your meditation practice. Just make sure that you’re not be too tired when you start meditating, otherwise it can be hard to focus properly, and you might even fall asleep! Of course, if you fall asleep, you’ll know that you’re really relaxed 😊!
Try These Techniques
Meditation is about your body as well as your mind. That being said, there are some techniques that can help you become accustomed to meditation and get better at it. Here are two common techniques to try:
Deep Breathing – With deep breathing, your primary focus is on your breath and controlling the rate at which you breathe in and out. Here’s an easy deep breathing exercise to try:
Take a deep breath, hold it for a count of 1,2,3,4; then exhale
Take another deep breath, hold it for a count of 1,2,3,4; then exhale
Take one more deep breath, hold it for a count of 1,2,3,4 and drop your shoulders while you exhale
Repeat your favorite mantra to yourself.
Here's a video of me doing an even simpler deep breathing exercise. In it, I inhale for a count of five and then exhale just as long. So you're inhaling for a count and then exhaling for the same count.
Muscle Relaxation – You can also try muscle relaxation techniques, where you envision and tense up each part of your body, one part at a time, then gradually relax your muscles from head to toe. According to WebMD, muscle relaxation is used by doctors to help their patients with a variety of illnesses such as high blood pressure, stress management, insomnia and headaches. It can be a great tool in your stress management and relaxation toolbox.
Very Well Mind has a wonderful and easy progressive muscle relaxation exercise to try that walks you through relaxing your entire body.
Another tip especially for those new to meditation is to break up your sessions. You don’t have to do it all at once. Make meditation part of your morning routine and then again in the evening. The first session can help you contemplate as your day begins so that you can begin your day in a state of calm and the evening session can help you relax from the burdens of the day.
I hope that you found this introduction to meditation for stress relief helpful. Tell me in the comments section which type of meditation you’ve tried and how it worked for you.
Cassandra Martin-Himmons is a trainer, wellness coach and consultant who believes in empowering her clients and providing the tools that they need to make positive changes in their lives to manage their stress and increase their self-care. Connect with her on Instagram or Linked/In