Guided meditations can be hit or miss for a lot of people.
Personally, I find most guided meditations to be formulaic, boring, and unhelpful. But, I do meditate, and I find that regular meditation can really help with stress relief. Even irregular meditation can help relieve stress, if you engage in it with mindfulness. Despite my railing against formulaic guided meditations, here’s a simple meditation for stress relief, one that I’ve used repeatedly throughout the years.
Let’s start with a tiny wee bit of background about meditation.
It’s not nearly as scary as you think it is. People who don’t meditate regularly, or who’ve never attempted meditation, tend to assume it’s what they’ve seen in the movies. Some bald person sitting perfectly still with incense and candles and maybe distant chanting in the background. That’s movie meditation, and has about as much in common with real life meditation as movie dinosaurs have to do with archaeology.
I’ve seen people who never meditated before attempt things in meditation that even seasoned practitioners couldn’t successfully do. And having attempted difficult meditation feats, and failed, these novices throw their hands up and declare that they just “can’t” meditate. I can’t do an Olympic uneven bar routine, but that doesn’t mean that if I started from the basics and worked my way up that I couldn’t at least get up on the bars. If you’re new to meditation, start small. Very small.
The best part about my simple meditation for stress relief is that it’s meant to be done on your own scale: from micro meditation to longer sessions, it’s adaptable.
When you find yourself feeling stressed, and want to use meditation to help calm down and let go of tension, this is the method that works for me, every time.
Stop what you’re doing. Whatever it is, just, stop. Put it down, close your eyes, deliberately disengage your attention from it. Take a deep breath, in through your nose, out through your mouth. This is the ‘nope’ moment. Let it all go, just for a moment.
Instead of a mantra, I’m going to give you some insights to repeat to yourself. “Right here, right now, I’m safe. In this moment, I am not in danger. I am in control, I have access to shelter and water and food, I am not threatened in this moment. Right here, right now, I am ok.” Rephrase that however feels right to you, but remember that you’re essentially talking to your limbic system, your inner child, the part of your mind that doesn’t understand big concepts or higher thought. Keep it simple, and focus on safety, security, and calmness. Just like talking down a stressed out or anxious child, talk yourself down.
Spend however long it takes to reach some level of stress relief: 30 seconds, 2 minutes, or longer. BUT: don’t aim for more than 5 minutes, especially if you’re just starting out. In fact, for novices, I recommend doing this meditation repeatedly throughout the day, for 30 seconds at a time.
See? Super simple meditation for stress relief.
Why do I recommend such short meditation sessions? Because most people are unaccustomed to sitting still with only their thoughts for company. Long meditation sessions are difficult, because our minds are busy and like to chew on thoughts. Until you practice the beginner steps, you can’t simply reach out and control your mind like a master. It’s a learned skill, and when you’re just starting out it’s best to set yourself up for success, and practice with good form. Don’t practice to failure, it’ll only discourage you and teach you bad habits. Short sessions so you can complete them successfully, and simple concepts so you can start to learn how to bring all the parts of your mind into alignment.
Let me know if you use my simple meditation for stress relief, and how it worked for you!