Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live a life free of stress? I’m sure everybody’s dreamt about that one time or another. But the reality is, we can never get rid of it. Although, what we can do is work around it by keeping it at bay, and not letting it get into our skin—and heads. And a way this could effectively be done is through the practice of meditation.
Just to be clear, meditation is not a way to escape stress, but rather, a means of conditioning your mind to become more aware of your surroundings, while developing a better disposition in life. Rather than shutting off your thoughts and emotions, you can train yourself to observe them without judgment.
By practicing meditation even for only a few minutes a day, you will notice that your mind will be more calm. Overall, it can give you a sense of balance and peace, while leaving you feeling better and refreshed. Although, you must know is that it isn’t just a one-off thing. In fact, it is advised to meditate regularly to reap even greater benefits.
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For one, the overall mood of those who meditate are significantly better than those who do not practice meditation, in the sense that they are happier and are less irritable. At work, those who meditate are less prone to burnouts and even have higher job satisfaction.
Focus, attention, and decision-making seem easier for them a too, because their minds wander less and are more grounded. They are also less aggressive and are not as reactive when put in a stressful situation.
In addition to this, those who practice meditation regularly, also notice physical benefits such as a slower heart rate, stabilized blood pressure, and a better immune system!
Sample meditation exercises
If you haven’t tried meditation out yet, here are some exercises that could get you started.
First, sit or lie down in a quiet place (in a studio or in your home). Ideally try to avoid being in the same room with other people, and make sure you are seated comfortably because you will stay in this position for a long period.
Close your eyes. You could also use an eye mask to help further block out any distractions.
Breathe normally. Do not change the pace of your breath and continue your inhales and exhales.
Focus on your breath and how your body feels in every breath you take. Pay attention to how your body moves from your chest, down to your stomach. Do not try and control your breath and simply observe. You might notice that your mind will wander at times, but when this happens, just shift your focus back to your breath.
Maintain this exercise for a few minutes daily, and gradually increase the duration as you get used to it.
As you go along, you will slowly recognize the benefits to this simple practice. To help you begin your journey to a stress-free life, you can also try looking into meditation apps, such as Headspace.
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Photos from: Headspace.com, Jackkornfield.com