As a meditation teacher, one of the questions many people ask me is this: What are the best meditation techniques for stress relief?
Stress is one of the main reasons people start meditating in the first place. We are living in a world where stress is an epidemic . And it is easy to see why. With the pressure of work, [READ: overcoming stress at work] the amount of financial stress we all face, health anxiety, relationship worries… there are simply so many things to be stressed about.
However, it is actually quite simple to start reducing the symptoms of all this worry and anxiety.
They say that one of the best ways to manage stress is to change your lifestyle so you do not encounter so many things that stress you out. But is that realistic? Is it even possible these days to completely avoid stress? I doubt it. Inevitably we will come across stressful moments in life. Avoidig it is unrealistic. A better and more reliastic option is to learn how to handle it properly. Enter meditation.
Meditaiton is the simple practice of focusing the mind on one thing, such as the breath. And it has been proven that there are many mental health benefits of meditation.
Yes, there are some big benefits of meditation techniques for stress.
Meditation trains your mind to be able to handle stress better. And science shows that it works.
Practicing meditation reduces the inflammatory response to worry and to negative thoughts, which reduces the health impact of stress. Mindfulness also reduces activity in the amygdala , and increases connections between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala, which lessens reactivity and improves our ability to manage stress naturally.
Sounds good. But how do you do it?
In this guide I will share with you the best meditation techniques for stress relief. These techniques are natural and easy. They will help you to manage your worries and stresses in a positive way.
You might also like to read my guide to anxiety meditation techniques.
Let’s get started.
The Best Meditation Techniques For Stress Relief
All of these meditation techniques help with stress. Try each one to find the best meditation technique for you.
1: Mindfulness for worry
Arguably the very best meditation for stress relief is mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the simply practice of being consciously aware and non-judgmental. It is about seeing things for what they are. So when we practice mindfulness meditation for stress, we simply observe stress for what it is: an emotion with physical sensations.
Often when we are stressed we sink inside the mind. Do you find that you have lots of negative thoughts when you are stressed? Do you get caught up in those thoughts? If so, mindfulness will help. It gives you the ability to get away from your worries and to step outside your negative thoughts so that you are not controlled by your stress.
There are many excellent Buddhist meditations for beginners that can help with stress. Buddhist methods change the way you process reality. They generally do this by making you more aware of how your mind works and how you get caught up in feelings, thoughts and emotions. In other words: they educate you about your own mind.
When you practice Buddhist methods you gain an understanding of how the mind works, and you gain greater control of your own mind.
So if you have felt like you don’t understand how your mind works, and you feel like you don’t have control of your worries and concerns, you will find Buddhist methods to be excellent meditations for stress relief and inner peace.
One of the best Buddhist meditations for stress is Vipassana. This is a very popular practice that is often taught at meditation retreats.
Vipassana is all about observing your various mental states and processing them in a healthier way. When we practice Vipassana we meditate on the breath, and we label our emotions and thoughts. For instance, if you experience a thought while meditating you will simply say to yourself, “This is a thought” or “This is an emotion”. It’s simple but powerful. It trains your mind to process thoughts and feelings more rationally, so you are less reactive to negative states of mind.
What makes this one of the best meditation for stress relief is that it helps you to not overreact when you have a stressful moment.
4: Anapanasati for relaxation
Anapanasati is a method in which we focus on the breath and then obseve the various mental states that the mind goes through.
When we practice Anapansati we start with breathing meditation, then we observe when the mind comes and goes (for instance, when we get caught up in thoughts and then when those thoughts disipate). Why does this meditation help with stress? Because it teaches us that it is natural to go through different states of mind and that invariably if we get caught up in one frame of mind it wil soon dissipate. This teaches us that mental states are impermanent, so we need not be too worried when we momentarily experience anxiety.
Zen Meditation is a powerful technique that helps us to be less stressed. It does this by developing our concentration.
Have you noticed that when you are stressed it is very difficult to focus on one thing? Sometimes when I am stressed, I will try to work but I will keep getting lost in my thoughts. This reduces my productivity, making it hard to complete my work, and of course that just adds to stress.
Zen is all about developing concentration. It helps us to stay mindful and in the moment so when we are stressed we don’t sink into the mind.
If you find that you struggle to focus at times when you are worried or anxious, this method will be perfect for you.
6: Taoist Techniques For Ease Of Mind
Taoist meditation techniques are all about living as our true selves and connected with the pure energy (chi) inside of us. Taoist techniques cultivate purity of mind and body, and eliminate negatives, such as toxins in the body and stress in the mind.
The reason these are some of the best meditation techniques for stress is because they cultivate inner stillness and tranquility. We learn to let go of anything we don’t need (including stress) and we live more naturally, in harmony with our true selves.
There are many different types of yogic meditations. The majority will help you when you experience anxiety or painful thoughts.
If you try combining yoga with meditation, stress will soon reduce. The physical activity of yoga releases endorphins (the feel good chemical), relaxes the body and reduces inflammation. And the meditations stop stress by calming the mind and reducing negative thinking.
For a complete solution I recommend combining yoga and meditation for stress relief.
Those Are The Best Meditations For Stress Relief
Today we have looked at some of the best meditation techniques for stress. These exercises will help you to purify your mind and body, reduce the inflammatory response to stress, and train your mind to process stress in healthier ways. Not only does meditation helps with stress it also helps with the health problems associate with stress. For instance, you can use meditation to lower blood pressure.
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