Meditation Guide For The Stressed And Sceptical

Meditation is as old as it is new.

The art of meditation is a long-standing practice, originating in India around 5000 years ago and continuing as a primarily Taoist china and Buddhist practice. Over these many years, meditation has made its way into other forms of traditional practices such as yoga, into our homes as part of a daily ritual and recently into the workplace as a way to de-stress.

With the copious amounts of information and often misconceptions about meditation, we have complied a range of different styles and methods of meditating. Adopt one or more of these methods if you are stressed, unable to relax or simply curious about meditation. You never know, you might surprise yourself and become addicted to the sense of relaxation, peace and relief if provides.

All you need is around 5-15 minutes of meditation a few times per week to see results. The most important part of meditation is to never give up and remember that with any practice, the experience will be different for each individual person and no one can master it in their first few attempts.

Meditation styles:

  • Traditional: Legs crossed, palms open to receive positive energy, with the thumb and forefinger touching to create a circle. Once seated in a calm and comfortable position, on the floor on a mat, towel or cushion, maintain a good upright posture with a slightly tucked chin. Breathe deeply as you begin to clear the mind and focus on the rise and fall of the breath, in through the nose and out through the mouth. As the body begins to soften and tension is released you will feel not only the breath and heart rate slowing but thoughts, feelings and ideas slowing too.

  • Writing for meditation: If clearing your thoughts in a seated and still position is just unrealistic for you, put your mind to work and clear the thoughts on a piece of paper (or book). Set a time of 10 minutes and what ever thoughts, feelings, ideas, concerns etc. come up, let them be free onto the paper before you. Not only will you feel lighter from releasing the thoughts, but your mind will have some time to take in what you are feeling and you can develop a better relationship with what you are thinking and why.

  • The 10 deep breaths: This one is great for a quick calming fix. If you are feeling overwhelmed or in a stressful situation and want to remain calm and collected, try taking 10 deep breaths. Make an emphasis on the exhale for 5 and emphasise the inhale for 5. You will feel better in no time!

  • Yoga Nidra: For those who have more time “Yoga Nidra” is a great way to come to a full body meditative state, and decrease stress and anxiety. It focuses on both the mind and body forming as one, relaxing and releasing as one. It can take anywhere from 20-60 minutes depending on your choice of exercise. Some forms focus on sound, colour and breathing so try a few for a different experience.

  • Visualisation: In this meditation a scene will be described to you by the guide or teacher, they will take you through the scene asking you to picture certain elements and enter your own place of peace, serenity and bliss. This escape from reality can be nice in times when we may feel our real world is out of control. Pick a meditation that takes you to your happy place and breathe in the sights and sounds.

The benefits of meditation:

  • Feel a deeper sense of self awareness

  • Feeling calm, clear and at peace

  • Increased cognitive function, which can help with dementia

  • Decreased stress and anxiety

  • Has been shown to help with many health issues, both mental and physical

As shown above, meditation is does not come in one simple form and there is a different type for everyone. Some people respond well to the longer and deeper practices and some really just love to breathe deeply and feel the stress flow out of the body with each breath.

Give it a go and see what works for you.