Meditation is a form of alternative medicine that promotes relaxation and mental rest through the use of controlling or suspending thoughts for a period of time. Since meditation involves physical and mental relaxation, it is a great way to relieve stress.
When some people hear about meditation as a way to relieve stress, they laugh and think it is a lot of nonsense. They think that meditation is not a viable solution for eliminating stress. But research has shown that meditation works and is a practical technique for stress management.
The most remarkable research into the usefulness of meditation in relieving stress was done in 1968 by Dr. Herbert Benson of Harvard University. He conducted a series of experiments on popular meditation techniques and published his findings in the book “The Relaxation Response”. He discovered that meditation has a “real effect on reducing stress and controlling the combat or flight response. Dr. Benson wrote that meditation increased the skin’s resistance to damage or infections, slowed down the heart rate and breathing, and reduced oxygen consumption.
Meditation is about consciously relaxing your mind and body for a period of time. Meditation means that you have to turn inward, so that your mind is basically so busy concentrating on breathing and body shape that there is no time to think about the events that cause you stress.
The act of meditation is actually very easy to do. Meditation does not require you to be a mystic or very spiritual. Meditation is something anybody can do almost anywhere.
When preparing yourself for meditation, make sure you set aside a certain amount of time where you are guaranteed not to be interrupted. Meditation does not require hours of practice at a time to be effective in reducing stress. Practicing meditation for ten or twenty minutes is certainly good enough.
Effective meditation requires you to be in a comfortable, quiet environment. This means that when practicing meditation, make sure you wear comfortable, unobstructed clothing. The temperature of the atmosphere (whether you are indoors or outdoors) should also be comfortable for you to make your meditation session as stress-resistant as possible.
Stress-reducing meditation is all about concentration. As soon as you feel completely comfortable (you can sit or lie down) close your eyes. Concentrate your attention on your breathing throughout your meditation session. Count your breathing. You can even say the numbers out loud to discourage your mind from wandering to other thoughts.
Another way to control wandering thoughts when you are in a meditation session is by using images. Images are very popular in meditation. All you have to do with imagery is focus on something you consider refreshing or pleasant. Music is also a popular way to help concentrate thoughts during meditation. You can do a monologue hum. Or you can use some soothing music with a lot of nature sounds.
The key to meditation is mind control. If you learn to control your mind, you can control your thoughts and better control the functions of your muscles. Sometimes it takes some time to learn not to let your mind wander to other thoughts while you are in a meditation session. But once you have mastered the meditation, you will discover that you can do it almost anywhere to relax if you feel overwhelmed by stress.