How meditation reduces stress
I’m going to outline how Meditation can help reduce or dissolve away those energy-draining, heart sinking symptoms of stress that make life difficult. One of the very first benefits of Meditation I experienced (and continue to) was in handling stress more effectively. Starting a new business and supporting family members with ailing health is never stress-free!
Meditation uses four skills which combine to reduce stress:
The ability to stay relaxed and alert.
Retrieving your wandering mind.
Letting everything else go.
Let’s look at the very first skill – relaxing..
When you sit quietly, you’ll become more aware of how your body feels and notice the areas that feel tight, sore or painful.
These are areas of muscle that are too tight, rigid or inflexible to relax properly on their own.
Once you are sitting still, you can ‘ask’ those muscles to let go by using a Breathing Meditation. This works because as you slow and deepen your breathing, your mind relaxes and this helps your body to relax..
The 2nd and 3rd skills on the list are intimately related. ‘Staying focused’ and ‘retrieving your wandering mind’. In meditation, you’re training your mind to stay focus on a single subject. ‘Retrieving your wandering-mind’ is all about recognising and banishing the tendency to chasing after thought, after thought, after thought.
With less in the way of unwanted thoughts grabbing your attention, your mind relaxes and your body responds by relaxing too.
Skill No. 4 is ‘letting everything else go’. The key to staying focused in your meditation is becoming better and better at recognising what your mind is doing. When you notice thoughts distracting you away from your meditation focus, you can stop them in their tracks by saying “I know you are there but you must wait your turn.”
Or, you can just bin them!
Fewer thoughts mean you experience a sense of calm spaciousness in your mind. Your body will again respond to this feeling by relaxing.
The effects of relaxing
When you get into the habit of a regular practice your mind and body will learn to respond quickly to what you’re doing – when you’re meditating, you’re relaxing.
Over time, any stress-related muscle tension will, at least. reduce or simply disappear.
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.
With less stiffness or tightness in your body, you have increased mobility and improved circulation. Every part of your body gets all the oxygen and glucose it needs to function optimally.
The result is an improved sense of well being!
Commonly experienced Symptoms of Stress.
How many of these commonly reported symptoms sound familiar?
Muscles around the shoulders feel tight.
A sense there is a fist pressed right into the back, making you stiff, achy and sore
The tendency to stoop.
Breathing feels restricted, shallow or just ‘inadequate’.
A need to pace around. Difficult to settle and relax.
Other common things that you may identify with:
“I’m tired all the time,” because you aren’t sleeping well. Disrupted and erratic sleep patterns or full-blown insomnia. OR ‘can sleep for England’ but don’t wake up refreshed.
Tummy aches or feeling bloated – which is often due to that familiar bugbear, Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Head pain which shows up as more frequent, intense, longer-lasting migraines or headaches.
Jaw-ache linked to gritting and grinding your teeth together during the day or night.
Brain is in overdrive, You just can’t stop thinking and it’s driving you “crazy”!
Do any of these stress symptoms resonate with you?
Concerned you have no time to spare to learn to Meditate?
Perhaps the reason why (or one of the reasons why) you’re considering meditation is so you can handle stress more effectively. What makes some hesitate, is a perception that meditation will place extra demands on their time. Well, yes… you will be investing your time – but not as much as you may think. Also, look at it this way. Stress eats energy. Stress dampens enthusiasm and creativeness. Taken together, these make your home or working life so much more arduous. Meditation will give you the means to limit the impact of stress in your life. This restores time, energy, enthusiasm and creativeness.
So, if you do invest time in meditation, the return on your investment is a worthy one.
Start reducing your stress today!
Find a quiet place and start with the short and simple Nine Breaths meditation. It’s a FREE video and an optional PDF download for you to use.
“I’ve found the 9 breaths very helpful. I generally do 3 sets of 9 which really leaves me with a great sense of calm. I had an incident at work where it became busy and my thoughts began to race. I took myself away and did the 9 steps twice. I was much calmer and able to think more clearly. It is helping me so much. Thank you”. – Caroline Harrington
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.