With our hectic schedules and many pressures, stress can become our biggest enemy. Stress makes us tired and haggard, not to mention the belly fat that the hormones caused by stress can create! I like to use yoga to help keep myself calm and balanced and reduce my stress levels. And I also use meditation. If you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed, or you can’t seem to calm your mind, you might want to consider meditation, too.
Now, many of my clients, when they hear the word meditation, throw their hands up and say, “I can’t spend hours sitting on a pillow like a yogi.” I tell them that they don’t have to meditate for hours on end to calm their minds and get relief from stress. When they try out some of the suggestions I share with them, they find that meditation turned out to be far easier and more fun than they had expected, and very effective, too.
My Friends, meditation is simply a way to gently open the inner communication between your mind and your body. It only requires a small amount of effort to discover what works best for you.
If you are a highly active person and have difficulty sitting still, you may find moving meditations a better fit. Yoga, Qi gong and Tai chi are all excellent ways to stay in motion and calm the mind at the same time. Plus, moving meditations have the added advantage of building muscle tone and improving balance.
Focused meditations are also useful and can be done for hours, if desired, or even a few moments at a time with excellent results. This type of meditation calls for focusing on something like an image, a thought, a word, or on the breath. One that I like to use is a breathing meditation. It involves closing your eyes and slowly breathing in and out. As you count, 1, breath in, 2, breath out, 3, breath in, and so on, until you reach 10 and start the process over.
It sounds effortless, doesn’t it? But you would be surprised at how easily the mind strays from something so simple. If your mind wanders while you are trying this, don’t fuss at yourself. Just gently bring your mind back to the task and start over. You might be surprised that just three to five minutes of this per day is enough to make a big difference. And it is a handy tool for emergency use when sudden stress arises.
Excusing yourself to the bathroom for three minutes is a way to sneak in some mind calming breathing without anyone ever being the wiser, and it can help you cope and make better decisions under pressure.