Mindfulness Meditation for Stress Relief
It is becoming more frequent to hear a doctor recommend meditation for stress relief. There are many types of meditation, my favorite meditation for relieving stress is mindfulness meditation.
The body/mind connection
Your body and mind are closely connected. Your body will relax when your mind quiets down and your mind quiets down when your body relaxes.
Mindfulness meditation for stress relief is effective because it quiets the mind and turns off the stress response.
By you being in the present moment. Mindfulness meditation is a type of meditation that guides your attention to be fully in the present moment. Right here, right now.
How do you practice it?
You don't have to be a yogi and sit for days crossed legged in a cave. Actually, mindfulness can be used in any activity. It can be an active meditation for stress relief.
Anything that you do in your everyday life can provide you with an opportunity to practice meditation. Tasks that are often boring or that you dislike can become a source of pleasure and relaxation if you carry them out mindfully.
Pick one of the following activities and bring meditation/mindfulness to your daily life.
Practice, experiment, and have fun!
Washing the dishes (sweeping, vacuuming, or any other household activity)
Household chores can be pleasurable if we are fully present in the moment. Slow down and explore- feel the dishes in your hand, the round edge of a plate or the feeling of a smooth glass. How does the water feel? Notice the smell and the slipperiness of the soap, the sounds of the utensils. Just be present to this moment.
Walking or exercising
Feel your feet on the ground. As you make each step, feel your heels touch the ground and then the rest of your foot following. What does the ground feel like? What is the sound of your shoes? As you walk, feel the flexing of your muscles, the feelings of warmth or coolness in your body.
Eliminate all your distractions. Allow yourself plenty of time for eating. Savor your meal, instead of rushing. What does the food look like on the plate? Explore the colors. Inhale its smell slowly and enjoy the pleasure of this smell. Take a small bite. Chew slowly and taste it fully. Be aware of how full and satisfied you are becoming.
Waiting in a line up or at a doctor's office
When you find yourself waiting in a line up or anywhere else, turn your attention to your breath (you don't have to close your eyes while you do this). Where is your breath? In your chest, in your belly, or somewhere else? Just feel your breath without trying to change it. Pay attention and be present to it. What is happening in your body? Bring yourself to the here and now, to your faithful guide - your breath.
Not to be practiced with eyes closed!
Before you begin driving take a few full breaths and return to your normal breathing as you let go of all the tension and stress. Feel the steering wheel in your hands, your sit bones on the seat, your foot on the pedal. While you are driving, notice when you get impatient or angry at other drivers. Just notice that. You don't have to change anything. Noticing is enough.
What other activities in your daily life can give you an opportunity to practice meditation?
Return from Meditation for Stress Relief, to Stress Relief Tools