Meditation is a very effective way to relieve stress. Meditation is both a general state of mind as well as a practice. What this means is that any activity that you do throughout the day can become a meditation practice, as a way to relieve stress.
What differentiates Meditation from our normal activities?
Meditation is just a calm state of focused awareness of the moment. This can be done while you do any activity, such as washing the dishes, cooking, driving, gardening, vacuuming, walking, doing work. Drawing from life is an excellent way to focus the mind on the present moment. Just taking the time and patience to observe all of the intricacies of your subject as you attempt to replicate its image with pencil or paint is usually very soothing and relaxing, as well as invigorating to your conscious mind.
What I am trying to explain is that Meditation is the way we do things (calm, focused, observant) not what we do. It can be anything.
However, there are also special breathing exercises and visualization techniques which are considered to be a more formal and complete definition of meditation. I will describe several different methods of meditation below. I just want you to understand that even if you feel unable to sit in silent meditation and complete the exercises below, you are still capable of accessing your own meditation during your daily activities by:
Slowing down your breathing cycle, inhaling much deeper than usual, and then exhaling out completely. This is an instant way to relieve stress and anxiety.
Consciously relax your shoulders. Tensing of our shoulders keeps us stuck in a state of distress.
Become aware of the moment. This requires us to stop our constant stream thoughts and worries so that we can bring our focus back into our body and our surroundings.
Try maintain awareness of your lower abdomen and lower back. This is your 'Lower Dan Tian' which is considered your central core from which all of our movements originate. By keeping our focus on this area, we can remain grounded and not be so stressed out by various stressors that affect us throughout our day.
Try to maintain awareness of the soles of your feet as you are doing any activity. The soles of our feet are our roots and connection to the Earth. The Earth supplies us with enormous amounts of grounding energy to keep us calm and collected if we are open to it. By keeping awareness of our feet, we strengthen this connection and nourish our Kidneys and Adrenal glands, keeping us nourished and energized as we tire from all of our strenuous mental and physical expenditures. Every so often, just remember to breathe deeply while you focus on the soles of your feet, and you will be recharged by the Earth below.
Breathe in for a count of five seconds and then exhale for seven seconds, completely emptying the lungs.
As you breathe in, your lower abdomen should expand forward, forcing the diaphragm to descend. We call this "abdominal breathing". We would do well to breath like this throughout our entire day. This will establish a calm state of mind with an increase in tranquility and peacefulness.
2. As we breath deeply and slowly (our lower abdomen expanding as we inhale and then settling back inwards as we exhale), we can bring our mental focus to the point directly between our nipples in the center of our chest. This point is called 'Tan Zhong' in Chinese which means,'Chest Center'. It is the same as the 'Heart Chakra' in Kundalini yoga. Breath into this point while smiling in golden rays of sunshine. As you exhale, imagine this golden light expanding down your arms and the front of your body, down your legs to your feet. Keep repeating this breath cycle and visualization.
As you inhale in this golden light, GIVE THANKS and gratitude for all of the many gifts that the 'Great Creator' has given you. Try to FEEL LOVE for the world and also feel that the world loves you in return.
This reciprocal exchange of loving energy between you and the world helps to dissolve and melt away any negative emotions that come up during a stressful day at work or while driving in traffic. Love always helps to relax the nerves, putting you at a sense of ease and acceptance.
To close this meditation, inhale golden light one last time from the heavens above into your chest, and then exhale down your legs and into the soles of your feet, connecting Heaven and Earth. You are the conduit through which loving energy unites the Earth with the Sky above.