No matter whether you are a beginner or an experienced meditator, learning to manage stress is crucial. Through meditation, you can learn how to become aware of your thoughts and emotions in order to regulate them. In the process, you will be able to decrease stress levels and increase feelings of inner peace and/or happiness by combining yoga with mindfulness, breathing exercises, mantra meditations, or visualization. More so, meditation has been proven very effective in treating disorders such as anxiety and depression by lowering cortisol levels.
However, it is important to note that stress can also incite negative mental or physical effects if not properly dealt with. According to Amy Novotney of the American Psychological Association: “Stressful conditions elicit a range of emotional and biological responses in people that, if uncontrolled, can lead to illness or disease.” (APA Publications, 2009) This means that stress has an impact on both our bodies as well as our minds. Stress management through meditation is thus crucial because it allows you to take care of your mental health as well as your physical health. Nevertheless, this does not mean you should neglect other forms of therapy such as those involving medication or cognitive behavioral therapy.
It is also important to note that the amount of stress you are under does not necessarily have to be very high in order for meditation to be beneficial. Low-stress conditions can still interfere with your quality of life if they go on for too long, so dealing with this type of predicament should be just as important. Everyone has experienced stress at some point in their lives, even if it was only due to exams, moving house, or a new job. Meditation allows you to train your mind and body to better deal with stressful situations. It will provide you with knowledge about how your brain works and what certain mental illnesses feel like (through gaining knowledge about yourself). Thus, will teach you how to identify trigger situations and will give you the tools and techniques to handle them.
Here are a few tips for using meditation to decrease stress.
In order for meditation to be effective and last long term, it must become a practice that you repeat regularly. Start out by practicing meditation once every day. After a few weeks of continuous practice, increase the number to two or three times per day. This will allow you to integrate meditation into your daily routine and help you manage stress on a regular basis.
Try meditating for 20-30 minutes every day.
Close your eyes and focus on something that has a special meaning for you (e.g., your breath). In to allow this ‘special object’ to become your sole source of attention, you are asked to ignore any feelings coming from your body or thoughts that may cross your mind.
Clear your mind before meditating. There are some people who find it difficult to concentrate during meditation simply because they tend to think about things in a negative way all the time, so if this applies to us then before you start meditating each day, try clearing your mind of these thoughts by spending at least five minutes alone somewhere quiet before you sit down for this exercise.
Let go of all concerns and just focus on achieving inner peace. If you try to follow every thought that pops into our head then meditation becomes much more difficult than it needs to be because we can never stay focused enough in this way unless we deliberately ignore these thoughts and banish them instead until they no longer appear when we enter ‘the zone’.
Try using a mantra containing personal significance. If your chosen mantra has significant meaning for you then it should be much easier for you to concentrate on every word until the sound of each one reverberates throughout your inner world…if you choose a meaningful phrase that contains words with more than one syllable, try repeating them in your head until they merge into just one single word that continues to echo around inside your head long after you have stopped thinking about the original phrase that was used.
Practicing mediation without distractions is the best way to achieve a deep level of inner calm. If you have never tried this before then now may be the perfect moment to begin as well as tackling any other mental issues that might arise during these sessions as soon as they present themselves so that you do not carry them over into everyday life.
Stay calm when you meditate. This point cannot be stressed enough because if you try too hard to push out any stray thoughts that may arise during meditation then there is no reason for you not to become frustrated every time because it is all too easy to forget why we are doing this in the first place!
Resolve critical thoughts before meditating. There are some people who find it difficult to concentrate during meditation simply because they tend to think about things in a negative way all the time, so if this applies to you then before you start meditating each day, try resolving these critical thoughts that are usually caused by lingering negative emotions or memories that can be easily exorcized with regular practice over time.
Never meditate when tired. Although there are many benefits that can be derived from this exercise just by following the advice mentioned above, its effects are most pronounced if, and only if, you make every effort to be as consistent as possible…if these things do occur then take a break immediately and try again another time!
To conclude, meditation becomes especially useful when under stress because it turns down your “fight or flight” response – even though this may seem counterintuitive considering the troubling circumstances. Therefore, once you are familiarized with what steps to follow and how often to repeat them, you will find almost immediate relief from the negative effects of stress, allowing your brain to regain its healthy balance.