Meditation is proven to be 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 lake front, 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!
You can make this process even more effective by listening to a
high quality meditation program like Deep Zen by Holothink. This
program will help entrain your brainwaves into a deep meditative
state that is extremely relaxing and quieting.