Mind, Body, Spirit & Meditation


How To Melt Away Stress with Meditation

Meditation is undoubtedly one of the simplest and most effective ways to handle stress, and it’s easy enough that anyone can do it and begin enjoying the benefits immediately. In fact, most people find that regular meditation helps them prevent stress from building up in the first place.

If you have ever wanted to start a meditation practice but kept putting it off because you didn’t know how to get started, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s probably easier than you think.

Try these two easy steps for starters:

Quiet your thoughts.

One of the most helpful aspects of meditation is the way it shifts you to a state of being, rather than thinking or doing. This is accomplished by finding a quiet place to be alone and simply focusing on emptying your mind of all thoughts. That may sound impossible at first, but “emptying your mind” doesn’t mean you won’t still have thoughts moving in and out of your mind.

What it means instead is that you won’t be attached to any of these thoughts. You simply step back mentally and observe, rather than engaging with any particular thought. You will still be aware of your thoughts, but you won’t be “in” them, if that makes sense. You want to get to the place of being fully detached from your thoughts so they aren’t dominating your focus any more. Simply sit back and allow your thoughts to flow effortlessly by, while you keep your focus on nothing. Slowly inhale and exhale, inhale and exhale - and you’ll feel stress and inner conflict begin to melt away almost immediately. If you do notice that you have latched onto a thought and you’ve begun thinking again (you probably will do this several times, just out of habit), let go and gently return your focus to nothing. It does take practice to master, but you’ll be amazed by the peacefulness this technique can inspire.

Create a peaceful haven in your mind.

Another great technique is to create a soothing, imaginary haven in your mind. This can be a real place you have visited before, such as a beautiful botanical garden, an ocean beach or lakefront, or a place that exists only in your own mind. This mental haven does not have to conform to the usual laws of physical reality, either. Your haven can be a serene oasis nestled between an ocean, a forest, botanical gardens - and even an amusement park! You can make it as fun, beautiful and whimsical as you like.

Spend some time “creating” this mental haven and put as much detail as you can into it. What does it smell like? Are there beautiful flowers that give off a pleasant fragrance? Can you hear birds singing? Is the breeze warm or cool on your face? Keep going until you’ve made it seem as real and rich as possible, and then begin spending a few minutes there each day. You want to become very familiar with the sights, sounds, scents and essence of this place, and spend enough time there that you automatically relax the moment you call up the mental image.

Then, whenever you find yourself stressed or in need of a little nurturing simply close your eyes and mentally flee to your peaceful haven for a few minutes!

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