Over the past few weeks I have been attempting the art of meditation to teach myself to relax and lower stress levels. At first I assumed it would be a crazy idea that wouldn’t work on workaholic’s rock hard body of tension. But by trial and error, finding my own personal way to clear my mind has been an adventure and I suggest every stressed person to at least give it a shot.
At first I started by using the yoga techniques of counting my breaths. Playing with the number of seconds I found that the best set for my lungs is to inhale slowly for 5 counts, hold for 5 and exhale for 8. Laying stretched out on my back (the best position for me), I would stare into the backs of my eyelids and fight off any thoughts that tried to interrupt my counting. I focused simply on breathing. Then I started working in the idea of imagining my “peaceful place” (which is on a hot beach in the sun) and in great detail put myself in that setting. Starting with my little toes, I started to picture the tension leaving my body and releasing the muscles like a wave slowly washing up over my body. When it finally came time to relax my brain, I made sure I had no racing thoughts and disciplined myself to only see into the darkness and steadily breathe. I stayed in this state for as long as I wanted (or until my alarm went off if I needed to set one), enjoying my inner peace and teaching my mind to empty itself. Then I slowly reawakened myself to the present location.
What started as a simple 8 minute exercise moved into 40 minutes every other day. Having a definite quiet time to myself has helped reduce my stress tension significantly as I stand back up refreshed and extremely calm. For some people, including myself, it can be hard to dispel all worries when faced with a silent and lonely room. But easing into relaxation and finding your own type of meditation can be rewarding. Now I have my routine for finding the quiet space in my mind and have added in listening to the Relaxation Station on Pandora. Barely hearing wildlife and calming classical music in the background of my breathing, I have harnessed stress and learned to direct it out of my system before tackling my endless to-do lists!