Meditation has been proven effective in reducing stress. It can help the mind and body achieve a deep state of relaxation. It can also be combines with visualization techniques to help calm the mind. Practicing meditation is a great way of improving your memory, focus and your ability to relax. In this article, you’ll find 10 simple meditation and vizualisation techniques that can help give you relief from stress.
The key to this technique is to focus all of your mind on your breathing. Each time you notice your mind drifting away, all you need to do is to gently bring your focus back to your breathing.
You may want to count your breaths to begin with to give your mind an anchor to come back to when your mind wanders off. Usually it’s useful to count up to ten and then begin again at one. This helps you notice when your mind goes off track (if you’ve got to 14, you’re mind is off track!)
Eventually you can let go of the breathing and immerse yourself in the full sensory experience of breathing, noticing all the many subtle sensations and movements involved. This can become as relaxing as watching gentle waves on the beach, each one different and with it’s own shape and feel.
With practice, your mind becomes wholly engaged in the here and now of your breath and your mind will start to feel as if it’s let go of repetitive thoughts for a short while. This temporary feeling of empty mind can be a very calming experience.
This meditation involves focusing your mind on the whole sensory experience of walking. As you slowly and mindfully take each step, be aware of your breath. Slowly expand your awareness to your other sensations in the body. What do your clothes feel like on your body? What does it feel like as your foot touches the ground? How does your balance change? How many muscles are involved? As you continue to focus your awareness on your breath and body, you can enjoy and appreciate how amazing the simple act of walking and breathing can be. Continue to simply enjoy this sense of awareness.
Sit comfortably in front of a mirror. Look into your reflection, focusing on your eyes. If you notice any negative thought coming up, simply let them go without judgment.
Imagine you are your own very best friend and that you love you unconditionally, especially as you have to deal with stressful conditions. Give your reflection a kindly smile to let it know it’s been seen, appreciated and acknowledged.
You may want to say something like “may you be well, may you be happy” inside your mind as you give that kindly smile. Or you might need some encouragement saying, “You can do this”.
This can be a very challenging practice as most people aren’t used to being kind to themselves. The key to success it to keep noticing and letting go of the negativity and practice giving kindly, unconditional love and support to yourself.
Studies suggest that having a mental rehearsal before an event helps improve your actual performance. Mental rehearsal is done by focusing your mind on a particular event that you want to go well. For example, meeting with a person you find difficult or stressful to be around.
Visualize the event as you would like it to be, as if you’re actually there seeing it through your own eyes. Imagine having an easy relaxed conversation, with you feeling good, calm and centred. Rehearse this imagining it’s going better than you might expect, with both of you happy. Repeat this several times, instead of just worrying about a future situation.
Sit in a comfortable way with your back in an upright position. And then choose any color that you like. Pick those that make you feel relaxed. Breathe gently and slowly. As you breathe in, imagine breathing in the color. Continue to breathe in until your body and mind seems filled with the color. Choose another color and repeat the process.
Understand that your sense of smell can easily change your internal states. Think of a smell that makes you feel good. Slowly imagine breathing in this smell deeply. Notice how it makes you feel and the sensations attached to the memory of that smell. Continue to enjoy the feeling of having your body ‘filled’ with this smell.
After this imagine your body filled with fragrant essences that you effortlessly give out as you go through the day. Imagine that everywhere you go is left ‘a nicer place to be’ as a result of your visit.
Light a candle and focus your mind on the flame. Simply notice the movements of the candle flame. Gently close your eyes and continue to focus on the candle flame in your mind’s eye. Whenever you lose the mental image, open your eyes and simply observe the candle flame. If thoughts come to mind, simply watch them pass by. If you prefer, you may burn these thoughts in the flame.
Take a moment to be grateful of having food on your table. Slowly take the time to appreciate the effort taken by many people to create the food and the room you are in. Appreciate the shape and colour of the food and then slowly start to eat. Chew your food slowly, noticing all the taste sensations. Also be fully aware that your food is giving nourishment not only to your body, but to your mind as well.
Being mindful of what you eat helps you savor the taste of your food with every bite. This can turn a simple meal into a delightful meditative experience.
As you start, think about something that genuinely makes you smile. It can be a funny event, or an image of something or somebody that can bring a smile to your face. Pay close attention to your smile and the sensations created as you smile. Then imagine it slowly spreading over your face and into the rest of your body. As your smile begins to feel real, you may feel like laughing. Feel free to do so. Breathe gently and continue to focus your awareness on your full smile, until your entire body feels like one big smile.
This technique is easy to practice, and is considered effective in helping you feel better quickly. Simply wearing a smile on your face promotes the release of endorphins or ‘happy hormones’ into your blood stream. This helps reduce stress and restore your mind and body.
Smiling can even ‘trick’ your brain into thinking that you’re happy, even when you’re not. Wearing a fake smile for a short time even has a small effect decreasing your stress. Simply lifting the corners of your mouth can help lift your mood and make you feel calmer.
Think of a special place that makes you feel relaxed, comfortable and secure. Create a clear picture of this in your mind as if you were there seeing it with your own eyes. Imagine yourself being in this place and enjoying the good feelings it evokes. With practice this will calm your mind and body almost as well as if you were really there.
Understand that meditation and visualization are skills that need to be learned and practiced. All of these different techniques can be done easily. Understand that like any other skill, it takes regular practice for you to get better.
So, make an effort to meditate regularly. Have a good go at practicing while on the train, or in a waiting room, or whenever you feel the need to relax. Soon it will become second nature to put a smile on your face, to practice gratitude, to focus your mind and to simply enjoy living your life in the ‘here and now’.