Meditation techniques for deep calm and stress relief
This article was originally published on September 15, 2017.
With the fast pace of our busy lives, it can be difficult to take the time to relieve stress and feel completely rested. We constantly think about worries about the future, memories of the past and the daily tasks of the present. Our life becomes an endless to-do list that leaves us feeling stress, anxiety and fatigue.
Fortunately, relaxation, anxiety relief, and rejuvenation can be promoted and sustained by adding simple meditation techniques to our daily regimen.
In the early stages of meditation learning, we can practice tools that will help us focus by focusing our mind on a single experience or activity. The result of prolonged attention is deep relaxation, clarity and resilience. Our racing thoughts begin to slow down and the parasympathetic nervous system signals the body to rest.
Deep rest allows the body to regenerate, calm the mind, and relieve stress. Here are some simple meditation techniques that will promote deep calm and promote stress relief.
For each exercise, sit in a comfortable position, either in a chair or cross-legged on the floor. (If you are lying on the floor, you may want to sit on a meditation cushion.) Your spine should be straight and your body should be relaxed with your eyes closed.
The mouth breather
Exhaling through the mouth causes deep relaxation, relieves emotional stress and reduces tension in the head, neck and chest.
Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose. Feel your belly rise as you inhale, filling your belly, middle chest, and upper chest with air.
Breathe out gently through your mouth as if you were sighing softly and feel the upper chest sag, the middle chest contract, and the rib cage move down towards the abdomen. The navel should of course be pulled back towards the spine.
Repeat this exercise 10 times.
Retrospection was introduced by the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner and is a process that helps us review our daily lives, improve our memory, and recall fragmented thoughts and experiences that can cause subconscious stress. This exercise should be practiced at the end of the day before going to bed.
Breathe in and out gently, focusing on the feeling of the breath. Repeat slowly 5 times.
Start to remember the experiences of your day, starting in the evening and ending in the morning. Try not to dwell on or change any event, just look at the events as if you were looking at a movie from an objective perspective.
When you are finished, sit with your eyes closed and continue to breathe slowly for 5 full breaths.
The autogenic trainer
Autogenic training was developed by the German psychiatrist Johannes Heinrich Schultz and promotes communication between body and mind and is used to relieve pain, relieve stress, improve sleep and reduce fatigue.
Take seven slow, deep breaths. Quietly and slowly, repeat this script for yourself:
My mind is calm
My mind is calm, my right arm is relaxed
My mind is calm, my left arm is relaxed
My mind is calm, my right leg is relaxed
My mind is calm, my left leg is relaxed
My mind is calm, my stomach is relaxed and warm
My mind is calm, my breathing is regular and smooth
My mind is calm, my body is relaxed and warm
My mind is calm
Progressive muscle relaxation is a series of consecutive tension and relaxation exercises. Each muscle group is contracted tight for five seconds and then relaxed for 10 seconds. The result is increased blood flow and a relaxation response. Progressive relaxation is not recommended for people with high blood pressure, low blood pressure, or heart disease.
Raise your eyebrows up as much as you can and feel the stretch on your forehead
Close eyelids tightly
Extend your jaw down and open your mouth as wide as possible
Lift your shoulders up to your ears, then push them back
Inhale and tighten your chest
Exhale and draw the navel towards the spine, sucking in the belly and upwards
Clench your fists and straighten your arms
Pull the buttocks together and pull them tight
Squeeze your thighs together, pull your lower leg muscles toward you, and firmly roll your toes down
Nicole Mahabir is the founder and director of JAI Wellness, a platform for health education, mindful living and wellbeing. For the past 10 years, Nicole has led professional certified programs teaching nutrition, meditation, Ayurveda, yoga therapy, and natural anti-aging beauty programs. When not teaching, Nicole creates integrated, sustainable health protocols for her busy clients. Follow Nicole on Instagram @jaiwellness or on her website jaiwellness.com.