Best Way to Use Meditation to Reduce Stress

Meditation can take you into a state where your body is completely relaxed and your mind is alert, yet still and peaceful. Benefits associated with regular practice of meditation are clarity of mind, mental alertness, improved creativity, the ability to concentrate for longer periods of time, and improved coordination.

Like most things, meditation improves with practice. Start by meditating for just a few minutes, gradually increasing the length of time. Try to make a regular time each day for meditation and persevere. Some people find it most convenient to meditate in the morning when they are alert, while others find that meditation can encourage sound sleep. There are many different ways to meditate, so experiment to find which one is most suitable for you.

Use Meditation Best Way to Use Meditation to Reduce Stress


Find a quiet place that is free from distractions. Before you begin the meditation, ensure you are comfortable — wear loose clothing and make sure you are warm. There are a variety of positions you can try, but whichever one you use, it is important that your spine remains straight.

Meditation positions

  • Sitting on the ground cross-legged. You may like to support your back against a wall.
  • Sitting in a straight-backed chair with hands lying loosely in your lap, palms facing upward.
  • Lying on your back. If you feel you may fall asleep, try another position.
  • Lotus or half-lotus position (if this is comfortable).
  • Kneeling position with hands resting face up on the thighs. A meditation stool will make this more comfortable.

Focusing on the breath

Begin by taking very deep, smooth breaths. As thoughts move into your mind, do not attempt to get rid of them. Instead, try to be an observer to your thoughts. Don’t judge them as right or wrong, silly or distracting, just allow them to come and go without becoming emotionally involved or allowing them to develop. Then consciously return your focus to your breath.

Focusing on an object

Light a candle or choose a small, beautiful object like a single flower, a shell, or a piece of stone or crystal. Place this object at eye level, 1 to 2 feet (30 to 60 cm) away from you. Settle into your chosen position and begin to breathe deeply and evenly, focusing your attention on the object. As thoughts enter your mind, observe them objectively and without judgment, and bring your focus back to the object.

Use Meditation 1 Best Way to Use Meditation to Reduce Stress

A mantra is a word or phrase that is repeated, either audibly or silently, over and over again as a way of concentrating the mind. If you are meditating for relaxation, choose a word or phrase that has a positive meaning for you and repeat this as you keep your breathing in a slow, even rhythm.

If you have difficulty meditating, you may like to try one of the many guided meditation audio cassettes available. These will lead you through a process that will assist you in focusing on your breath and on relaxing parts of your body. You may also like to make your own guide by reading onto a tape while you play soothing music in the background. Begin with instructions to focus on your breath followed by instructions to relax all parts of your body, starting at your toes and working your way up to your scalp. Speak slowly, smoothly and with clarity.

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