Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic struck the world, thousands of individuals staying and working from have, reported high stress levels. If you or someone you know is experiencing high stress or anxiety, scheduling time to mediate as part of your daily routine can help you relax and restore your inner peace.
When you meditate, you free yourself of the information overload that builds up over time and contributes to stress. The practice can also help cure mental conditions aggravated by stress. Here are some of the most effective ways to meditate and relax:
When we’re stressed out or anxious, our breathing tends to be rapid and shallow. One of the best ways to deal with the condition is through what we call belly breathing. It involves taking some deep diaphragmatic breaths, which shift our breathing pattern and rate to stimulate your body’s parasympathetic nervous system and prompt a calming response. This in turn decreases our blood pressure, muscle tension, and heart rate.
To your relief, the technique requires no equipment and is fairly easy to practice. All you need to do is lie down or sit comfortably on a chair with your feet on the floor. Place one hand on your heart and the other hand on your stomach. Then, slowly inhale through your nose until you see your belly rise and count to three before slowly releasing your breath and letting your stomach fall. You may choose to hold your breath for longer, perhaps for five to seven seconds. The aim is to slow down your breathing pace.
The impact of deep or belling breathing is cumulative, which means the more you practice it, the better off you’ll be. Practice it daily, regardless of whether you’re stressed or not.
Relaxation meditation is a tried and tested technique to ease and manage stress. It relies on an object of focus such as a visualization or your breath to cultivate calm. The method involves body scanning, awareness to calm the mind and body, and deep breathing. To exercise it, find a calm space and get comfortable there. Take a deep breath through your nose and breathe out via your mouth. Do this five times. When inhaling, contemplate you’re acquiring fresh air; when releasing the breath, assume that you’re letting go of the stress in your mind and body.
Next, take a short pause to settle into your body. During this time, acknowledge your senses by noticing any smells, sounds, and tastes around you and feeling your weight on the chair you’re using. As the next step, scan your entire body for any discomfort and tension. Repeat the body scan to notice the exact body parts that feel relaxed. Each scan should last 20 seconds. Also, examine your mood and detect the thoughts that arise during the scans but don’t judge or try to alter them.
Then, begin breathing normally and observe the quality of breaths in terms of how deep, long, shallow, and fast they are. This step should last 10 seconds. Once you’re done, sit down for around 20-30 seconds, letting your mind wander. Finally, focus on sensing the physical conditions you’re experiencing, including any sounds you hear or the spot where you feel the ground.
…the impact of deep or belling breathing is cumulative, which means the more you practice it, the better off you’ll be!
The feelings of relaxation and absolute calm that you obtained through the process should be carried for the rest of the day.
If you face difficulty meditating on your own, using one of the available meditation apps can prove highly valuable. These offer amazing meditation guides, helping you attain greater number of positive emotions, eliminating stress, and even establishing better social relationships.
According to a study by Carnegie Mellon University, the best meditation apps help you reduce systolic blood pressure and cortisol levels in response to stress. Evidence also suggests that the programs help improve your working memory. Moreover, a CMU study revealed that smartphone app-backed meditation can motivate users to engage in more social interaction as well as alleviate the feelings of loneliness.
Here are some of the best meditation apps to consider:
- Ten Percent Happier Meditation
- Insight Timer
- Simple Habit
We hope you enjoyed the valuable ways to meditate and relax discussed in this guide. Deep breathing and relaxation meditation help you learn and practice meditation on your own, while apps allow you to give yourself a break and relax. Happy Meditating!