It's not much fun to live in an environment that's stressful, pressurizing and completely inferior to your well-being. For some, this environment is at their workplace, while others might find it hard to find peace within their own home -- I'm looking at you, parents.
America is known for being a country that promotes stress management in every aspect of therapy and counselling, but what if, instead of managing stress we learned how to manage our own body so that we can experience a profound and lasting peace within ourselves?
You may feel at mercy with stress, and the light at the end of the tunnel might not be there yet, but it only takes a few mindful exercises to start working on your stress-related problems internally, at which point people will naturally start to question your ability to remain peaceful in situations that previously caused turmoil within yourself.
Stress can be caused by a plethora of reasons
Here are the most common reasons for experiencing stress:
- Indulgence in sedative substances: smoking, alcohol, and drugs
- Unhealthy diet choices
- Avoidance of problems by ignoring them
- Being overly engaged in mindless activities on your phone
- Having lack of passion in life
do any of these sound familiar to you? It goes without saying that many of us have resorted to some of these temporary solutions more than once in our lives, and often combining many of these together to try and combat problems that just don't seem to go away.
Is there any way out of this loop? My solution for the last 4 years has been meditation, the practice of mindfulness and conscious breathing that has helped me to understand my emotions and my body better, and has greatly improved my levels of well-being and overall satisfaction with life.
It doesn't come as a surprise to learn that meditation is now a mainstream topic of discussion, and more research is being done every week to understand how meditation impacts the brain and emotions.
How to meditate for stress relief?
In late September, the highly acclaimed yogi mystic Sadhguru published his book "Inner Engineering: A Yogi's Guide to Joy" -- a book that was specifically written for Western audience to help understand the inner-workings of the human body and how joy can be achieved effortlessly through a mindful understanding of the mind and body connection; the underlying foundation of Yoga is Union of mind and body as One.
I'm mentioning this because the book has immense leverage towards understanding the origins of your stress problems, and how mindful practice of meditation and observation can help you better align yourself with who you are as a human being.
Needless to say, Sadghuru is a highly joyful writer and there's a lot of laughter to be taken away from his book.
Now, back to our meditation. This short meditation can be practiced anywhere where you have a comfortable and quiet space to sit for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on your own level of comfort. Put on some soothing music in the background if that makes it easier, besides -- music can be a great aid in stress relief by itself.
- Sit in a comfortable upright position with your hands resting in your palm, close your eyes gently.
- When you have found your comfortable sitting position, you can start to notice the sensations of your inhalations and exhalations of breath through your nostrils. Notice the subtle movement of breath coming inside of your body, and then the sensation of breath leaving your body as you exhale.
- Start to visualize a white ball of energy in front of you. Whenever you inhale, imagine inhaling the whole of the ball within your body, organs, and your being. Feel this ball of energy fill up your body with positivity, upliftment and nourishment that will transcend itself into all areas of your body. Don't pay attention to resistant thoughts, just allow this energy to build within yourself. Then when you feel filled up, you can exhale by visualizing the release of this ball and find it being right in front of you again.
- Repeat this visualization for the next 5 to 10 minutes and start to notice any significant changes happening in you.
It might sound like a lot right now, but it's an extremely easy meditation for relieving stress that will instantly provide noticeable benefits. Breathwork and visualization go hand in hand when it comes to management of your own body and mind, which is why so many athletes choose visualization techniques to help themselves prepare for competitions, such as Olympics.
Your effort will determine your results, so try to be mindful of your meditation practice and it won't take long for you to start a long-lasting relief from your problems and stress that has stored itself into your body and mind.
And if you found this meditation technique appealing, perhaps you're interested in starting your own meditation practice at home, if that is the case -- you can refer to my in-depth guide on how to meditate; it covers all aspects of meditation, and provides simple to follow meditation techniques that you can practice at home, or during your break at work.