A combination of 4 actions
Meditation weaves together 4 actions which together reduce the feeling of stress.
- Retrieving your wandering mind.
- Letting go.
Let’s look at the very first skill, relaxing
At first, you might find it hard to settle down to being more relaxed, especially if it’s not something you do very often. This is a normal response for a beginner meditator, so if you’re feeling this don’t worry. It doesn’t meant you can’t do it.
What will help you get better at it are techniques like:
- Relaxing one part of your body at a time and working round from your head to your feet.
- Using breathing meditations (like the Nine Breaths) that give your mind something to pay attention to and that invoke relaxation response in your body.
- Sitting and doing your meditation regularly – this will train your body and mind that ‘this is chill out time’. every time you do it, it gets easier and easier.
When you first begin, your mind is used to jumping round from thought to thought, that’s how your brain normally works. And a whole lot of energy gets burnt up in that process.
As you meditate, you’re training your mind to stay focused on a single ‘thing’ for a period of time. This is a really good way of reducing stress.
If your mind is used to feeling busy, whizzing round and always planning, organising and doing, this is a new skill, so don’t have high expectations of yourself being able to do it instantly.
Training your mind is a bit like teaching a baby to walk. You do small one step at first. Then the following day you do another. After a week you can do two or three steps and the following week you can get across the room!
All it takes is practice!
This process of trying to relax and focus will naturally bring you to experiencing a wandering mind.
Retrieving your wandering-mind
This is all about recognising and with practice reducing the tendency to lose your focus and end up chasing thought, after thought, after thought.
Just keep practising holding onto your focus and gradually you’ll find your wandering mind doing less of it.
The letting go process goes along with the relaxing and the focusing and it helps your wandering mind calm down. Here’s how it works:
When you ‘see’ the thought arrive you can either put it into your mental incinerator because its not important or you can put it in your “sort it later” pile.
Then you return to your focus and your meditation.
When you get into the habit of regular practice, your mind and body will learn to respond quickly to what you’re doing. When you’re meditating, you’re relaxing and letting go of tension, both mental and physical.
- Over time, any stress-related muscle tension will reduce or simply disappear.
- With less stiffness or tightness in your body, your body benefits from an increase mobility and improved circulation.
- You’ll have a digestive system that will be better able to digest! Your body can actually make use of all the lovely nutrients you are eating and that means you’ll have more energy.
The result is an improved sense of well being and everything seems easier!
If you’ve got any questions about stress and how meditation may help you, feel free to email me. I’d love to hear from you, and I will answer your question as soon as I can.