Meditation for Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety are all around us in our modern world. News stations show negativity 24/7. Social media and mobile phones add to the chaos. And for students who have extra tasks on their shoulders, it can be hard sometimes just to get out of bed to face a new day.
Meditation for stress and anxiety can help. It’s the solution for a world which sometimes can seem to have gone wrong.
What Is Meditation?
Meditation is like a personalised training session for the brain. We understand that to make an arm get stronger we do physical exercises such as push-ups or arm curls. Our brain needs that same kind of exercise to build its ability to function smoothly. By engaging in regular practice sessions, we reap a wealth of benefits not just for the brain but for the body as a whole.
What are the Benefits of Meditation?
Meditation is one of the most powerful investments you can make in yourself. That’s because the mind is not a separate entity that works in solitary isolation. Your mind literally interacts with and controls every other aspect of you, from how well you sleep at night to how well your stomach digests food.
That means a meditation practice brings:
Better mental functioning. From increased concentration to improved memory, from lowered stress to reduced depression, all aspects of how your mind works are lifted through meditation. Your sleep rhythms fall into better line. Better sleep leads to clearer thought. The benefits cascade into each other.
Better physical functioning. Your mind is tightly tied to every other aspect of your body. It controls how actively your immune system fights off colds and invaders. It controls how well your digestive system processes nutrients. At night, your mind sends out the legions of clean-up crews to repair and rebuild your muscles and tissues.
Better emotional functioning. When a body is stressed, the stress hormones which flood the system cause all sorts of damage to muscles, tissues, and organs. On the other hand, when the body is in a relaxed, calm state, they body is far better able to repair and heal itself. Meditation helps the mind deal with challenges and pressures in a calm, even-keeled manner. It lets the thoughts work through issues without adding the stress hormones into the mix.
Better compassion and empathy. Humans are trained by evolution to focus in on themselves when challenges appear. It is simply harder to invest energy in helping someone else when you can barely get yourself out of bed. Through meditation, you are able to get yourself into a better position where you can now be present for your family, friends, and larger community.
A Meditation for Stress and Anxiety
This meditation can be done anywhere at any time where you can pause for a few minutes. Practice this and add it to your toolkit of ways to deal with stress and anxiety.
If possible, sit or lie down. If you aren’t able to, stand with your feet hip-width apart and balance yourself evenly on both feet. Let your gaze go soft, so you’re not really looking at anything in particular. Let your hands relax.
Take in a long, slow, deep breath, filling your upper chest, mid chest, and lower abdomen. Let your abdomen fill out like a balloon. Feel the nourishing oxygen flowing into you, bringing its energy and health into every corner of your lungs.
Breathe out, out, letting your body expel the toxins and negativity. Let your body release the carbon dioxide and waste. You don’t need that any more.
Breathe in, slower, deeper, feeling the air move past your nostrils with a gentle movement. Focus on that sensation. On the oxygen-rich air flowing into you, revitalising you, nourishing you.
Breathe out, out, out, releasing the used carbon dioxide from your system. You’re done with that. Your body releases all it no longer needs. Feel how the breath moves past your nostrils.
As you continue to breathe in and out, fuller and deeper, pay attention to that sensation at the edge of your nostrils. Focus just on that feeling.
Thoughts will poke their way in. That’s how thoughts work. When they do, be aware of them as drifting clouds. The thoughts are not you. They are simply clouds which go past the sky of your mind. The thoughts do not define you. They are waves in your ocean. Watch them come, watch them go, and return your attention to your nostrils.
You’ll find again that you’ve been distracted by thoughts. That’s all right. The point of meditation to build your skill with returning from distraction. When you realise you’ve been pulled away again, compassionately smile and then let that cloud drift on. Return your attention to your breath. To the inflow of oxygen. To the outflow of all you no longer need.
Continue this for the time you have. Even just two or three minutes can bring an improvement, if you’re able to do it regularly. Find a way to work meditation into your normal routine. It will help every aspect of your health, from the physical to emotional to spiritual.
Thanks for reading,
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