As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been researching and trying out some meditation exercises as a means to destress and heal.
Many cultures have practiced meditation for thousands of years, using various techniques to achieve mental balance and emotional peace. A thousand-year-old experience that speaks of its health benefits is increasingly receiving scientific confirmation in recent times.
Meditation does not require any special equipment or prior knowledge. You can practice it anywhere, on public transport, during breaks at work, or while walking. I’m sharing with you six meditation exercises for finding your center in stressful situations, which will be helpful to you.
How to recognize that we are under stress?
Most of us are leading lives full of deadlines, frustrations, responsibilities, and busyness. The resultant stress and its consequences have become a significant health issue. People react differently to stressful situations, so defining the symptoms clearly and relating them to stress is sometimes challenging. That’s why we often ignore them. I know I did that for years!
Physical symptoms of stress manifest as headaches, insomnia, decreased or increased appetite, problems with digestion, and constipation. On the other hand, emotional symptoms are nervousness, anxiety, fear, worry, sadness, depression, and problems with concentration. Regular meditation practice, without a doubt, helps you regulate it and find an effective way to deal with it.
6 Meditation Exercises for Finding Your Center in Stressful Situations
1. Body scan meditation
A body scan is a mindfulness meditation practice that involves mental scanning of your body from head to toe. Focusing on your body will help you recognize where you hold stress and tension and gain insight into your feelings and thoughts. Start the meditation by getting comfortable in a sitting or lying position. Close your eyes and focus on breathing. Choose where you want to start the body scan, from the top of your head to your heels or vice versa. Focus on each part of the body and pay attention to your feelings. If you feel pain or tension, accept those feelings without criticism. Accept them and let them pass. Continue scanning the other parts of the body in the same way.
2. Diaphragmatic breathing is one of the best meditation exercises
Diaphragmatic breathing can help you with anxiety, asthma, or stress. It also helps with panic attacks and even drug use. Since these two disorders are often connected the same form of mediation will help you manage both. The goal is to calm yourself down and truly be in command of your own body – not being driven by stress or negative emotion. To begin this meditation technique, lie on your back on a flat surface with your knees flexed. Place one hand on the upper part of the chest and the other just below the ribcage. Inhale through your nose, moving your stomach towards your hand. Exhale through your lips by compressing your abdominal muscles. Keep your hand on your chest as still as possible during inhaling and exhaling. Use this technique for 5 to 10 minutes several times a day.
3. Root Grounding
Start this technique in a standing position. Place your feet flat on the ground wider than hip-width apart. Put your arms by your sides. Pay attention to the sensations you have in your feet. Feel the connection with the earth. For better results, practice this technique barefoot, although this is not required. Slowly scan your body for areas of tension and try to relax them. Relax your whole body. Focus on your breathing. Breathe in forcefully as you feel your lungs expand. Exhale by pushing the air out of your lungs. Imagine that your feet are roots and your body is a tree. Feel the energy of the earth and take it into your body. Feel the stress leaving your body through the crown of your head.
4. Breath Counting Meditation
This technique intensifies your ability to focus and clear your mind of all problems of the outside world, allowing you to de-stress. Also, meditation can help with drug addiction. I know that a lot of people are battling with it, unfortunately. If you’re one of them, all I can tell you is to try and stay strong and positive. Meditation is calming and helps, but consider getting professional help, as experts at Little Creek Recovery advise.
To practice breath counting meditation exercises, you must be familiar with diaphragmatic breathing. Sit comfortable position and take a deep breath while breathing abdominally. Exhale, and at the end of the exhalation, count “One” in your mind. Breathe in again, pause, exhale, and count “Two.” Continue breathing in and out, counting to ten. Then start the countdown. If your mind wanders or you forget what number you are on, start counting from the beginning. Try to count to ten and back without making mistakes.
5. Progressive muscle relaxation
One of the most common ways our body shows that we are under stress is by tightening the muscles, especially in the neck and shoulders. The progressive muscle relaxation technique is very effective in relieving this stress symptom. This method is easy to use. Take a comfortable position, tighten one muscle group at a time for a few seconds, and then relax. Notice the contrasting feeling of relaxation. Work your way down from the head or up from the feet and toes. This meditation exercise is a time productively spent, just like any other meditation technique. And you’ll see the change for the better very soon.
6. Transcendental Meditation
Transcendental meditation is one of the simpler, natural meditation exercises. In this method of meditation, you silently repeat a mantra for 15-20 minutes. A mantra can be a word, sound, or phrase. Sit comfortably on the floor or a chair with your hands in your lap. The room should be quiet and dimly lit. The eyes must be closed all the time during the meditation. Focus entirely on the mantra you are repeating in your mind.
Stress control isn’t the only benefit you’ll get from practicing meditation regularly. It will help you focus on the present and increase self-awareness. Meditation will help you develop self-discipline and a positive attitude, while your sleep will be more regular and of better quality. Studies have shown that meditation positively impacts anxiety, depression, chronic pain, or headaches. Of course, meditation exercises cannot replace traditional medicine, and you should consult your doctor about every activity you plan. But it can be valuable as an additional method to ease the symptoms.
Which of these meditation exercises would you give a try? If you do, please let me know how they worked for you.