Battling stress can be made much easier by using the right meditation techniques.
Whether you’re totally new to meditating or have been taking advantage of this practice for years, everyone can benefit from learning new meditation techniques.
The art of meditation can offer you real benefits from even your first moments of attempting it. You don’t have to be good at it and you don’t have to have a goal in mind.
Simply sitting still, breathing, and calming your nervous system will leave a dramatic impact behind on your body.
Read on for meditation techniques that really work.
1. All Meditation Techniques Come Down to This: Just Breathe
At the end of the day, all meditation comes down to is coming back to your breath. Just take a moment or two to breathe.
Focus on your breath and feel the sensation of air coming in through your nose and being expelled a bit warmer. You can observe the sensation of cool air flowing in and warm air flowing out, or just feel how it feels for you to truly notice what breathing feels like.
If you lead an active, busy, or stressful lifestyle, you can especially benefit from meditating. Calming down — whether you meditate for one minute or thirty — will offer you lasting results both physically and emotionally.
It takes no work, preparation, money, or time to slow down and breathe. It’s free and easy — that’s what makes breathing deeply one of the most accessible and efficient meditation techniques!
2. The 7/11 Method
One of the most popular meditation techniques when it comes to getting control of your breathing is to practice the 7/11 method.
It is a very simple technique but it can help to trigger relaxing results in your brain. Breathing this way tells your brain to settle down and that you don’t need to be in fight or flight mode because all is well.
All you have to do is breathe in for 7 counts through your nose, pause, then breathe out for 11 counts through your nose.
This simple breathing technique slows down your heart rate, reduces stress, and helps you to settle and re-center.
3. Use a Mantra
Many people feel leery of using a mantra because they’re not sure where the practice originates.
However, all a mantra does is give your brain something to focus on and come back to as you meditate.
Take the example of an elephant in a bustling Indian market. Walking that elephant through the market can take forever because its trunk is curiously exploring everything around it.
However, a good trainer will provide that elephant a stick or object to hold in its trunk as they walk it through the market. Doing this gets them through the market in record time, as the elephant is solely paying attention to the object it’s holding and its attention is not wandering.
This is what a mantra can do for your brain. As your mind starts to wander, the mantra brings you back to the present moment and the task at hand — that is, meditating.
4. Listen to Calming Music
Many meditation experts recommend that you do not listen to music as you meditate. This is especially true if the music has words or happens to be your favorite rock and roll song.
While you might enjoy listening to music and it might put you in a better mood (which is great), this is not meditation.
If you do choose to listen to soothing music while you center yourself, opting for something like spa music or simple vibrational sounds can be a great way to do it. Sites like Meditation-Music.com can provide great music options when you need soothing sounds to ease your mood.
Listening to music may also be very helpful in noisy or crowded situations, such as your subway commute or a hectic day at the DMV.
5. Use an App
Our phones and computers can be a major source of distraction. Spending time just scrolling on social media can bring up stress, envy, and other unpleasant emotions.
However, smartphones are a neutral tool. You can also use them to help, not hinder your mental health.
Try a few different meditation apps to see what you like the best. These apps offer you guided meditations, soothing sounds, and other ways to practice and track your meditation journey.
6. Don’t React — Just STOP
Even if you don’t feel stressed, you can still benefit from the practice of meditation.
Whether you want more excitement in your life or less, meditation can simply help to put you in a better mindset. You’ll be in a state of mind that allows you to respond, rather than react, to whatever situations come your way.
By utilizing your frontal cortex — the logical and rational part of your brain — rather than the amygdala, which triggers the stress response, you will be able to approach things in a more responsible and balanced way.
When something alarming or upsetting comes your way, what should you do? Just STOP! This method is actually an acronym.
The S stands for stop. T stands for take a breath. O means observe — take time to step back and truly observe the situation, what is happening, and what you can do about it. After that, you’re ready for P — proceed.
7. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
This may sound complicated and hard to do, but progressive muscle relaxation is not a difficult practice. All you have to do is start at one end of your body and work your way to the other end.
Along the way, tense and squeeze the muscles in one part of your body at a time. Hold this tension for ten seconds, then let it go. Ease your way into the next part of your body, and then the next and the next.
Maybe start with your head and neck, then end with your toes. Progressively relaxing this way triggers your body to relax.
Meditation Techniques: Wrap Up
With these techniques in mind, you will be well on your way to leading a more peaceful, balanced life.
Looking for more tips to improve your wellbeing? Browse our site for other life, health, and wellness tips.