Stress is something that can seriously undermine your quality of life and it’s very important not to underestimate the significant impact it can have on pretty much every aspect of your wellbeing.
That’s why it’s so important if you are experiencing any kind of stress, to make sure that you find ways to manage it and to get it back under control.
One of the very most popular and the very most effective tools for doing this is to use meditation. That said though, there are a number of different meditation techniques for stress and the best option is going to depend largely on what type of stress you’re facing, how you personally deal with it and your general disposition to begin with.
Here we will look at three of the most popular and successful meditation techniques for stress and at how they work.
Mindfulness is one of the most commonly applied meditation techniques for stress and is a big part of cognitive behavioral therapy.
The idea of mindfulness is something a little different to what you might usually associate with meditation. Often with meditation we think of trying to ‘clear our minds’ of all thoughts so that we can enter a state of completely emptiness.
That is not the objective with mindfulness – in fact it’s pretty much the opposite of what you do.
Instead, mindfulness is about letting your thoughts ‘happen’ but taking a step back from them. This way you simply observe the contents of your own thoughts for subsequent reflection.
The reason that this is one of the best meditation technique is that it gives you a peak into your own mind and into the kinds of things that are causing you stress.
Most likely, you’ll find that you are thinking about work, about how your partner is going to leave you or about how you don’t have enough money. All these thoughts can lead to stress but you need to be aware of them in order to start making a positive change and in order to start combating them.
Transcendental meditation on the other hand is a type of meditation that is more similar to what we generally picture. Here the practitioner will sit comfortably for 20 minutes and close their eyes, normally while repeating a mantra (any noise or word that you repeat over and over again).
The objective here is then to ‘transcend’ your normal thoughts to the point where you’re able to get respite from them – and hopefully then return to your usual routine feeling well rested and recovered as a result.
Eventually this can become a skill that you can use whenever you need to get a break from everything going on around you and studies seem to suggest that these types of meditation techniques for stress are very effective at triggering more relaxed brain states.
Note however that transcendental meditation is not easy and it can take a fair amount of work at first. Getting your thoughts to ‘go quiet’ is often a real struggle and ironically this can be a source of stress in itself! This is a strategy that requires a little hard work and dedication then.
The great thing about meditation is that it doesn’t have to follow any set rules. That is to say that when you meditate, you are simply being disciplined with your own mind with the aim of improving your mental wellbeing. That could mean something as simple as telling yourself not to think about whatever is making you stressed, or examining a flower with meditative focus so that you end up shutting out everything else happening around you.
Visualization is simply the process of closing your eyes and imagining you are somewhere else. One of the most popular stress management techniques of this nature is to then go to a ‘happy place’ which is an imaginary (or remembered) environment that makes you feel completely at ease. For many people this will be a beach or an open field and by focusing on all your senses and paying attention to the details you can often bring these places very much to life for some real respite.