To achieve long-term stress relief and management, meditation has been shown to be the most effective technique to use. There are many types of meditation beginning with simple breathing to using visualizations and images to help focus and/or relax the mind and body. Doing these exercises can help you give your brain a “charge”, helping enhance your memory, focus and ability to relax, as explained in the following article from Time Magazine
Exercise: Basic Meditative State “The Empty Mind”
The Empty Mind Preparation:
The key to this meditation is to focus on your breathing and every time you notice your mind straying to any thought just bring your attention back to your breathing.
Relax your body completely by visualizing each major muscle group relax and let go. Now do a 4 to 1 count as follows:
Take in 4 deep breaths, repeating “4” to yourself as you exhale. Then take 3 deep breaths, repeating “3” when you exhale. Now take 2 deep breaths, repeating “2” when you exhale. Finally, take 1 deep breath, repeating “1” as you exhale.
Imagine that you are a passive observer of something very relaxing where there is repetitive motion. For Example: relaxing on the beach, watching the waves go back and forth or just lying in the grass and watching as the clouds move by overhead.
Finally, now you want to cause your mind to go completely blank. As you are focusing on this repetitive movement, begin to envision a blank form.
Maybe this blank form will arise as ‘gaps’ in your thoughts. I.e. there are always gaps in thought, become aware of yours. Allow these gaps to expand.
If you get lost in thought and notice, then you are already succeeding in the meditation. As you NOTICED getting lost.
Allow each thought to pass as easily as it came in, expanding your awareness of the ‘gaps’.
10 Quick and Effective Meditations For Stress Relief Management
1 Breathing In Colors
Sit in a comfortable position with your back straight. Then choose a color. You can pick any color you like, from blue, to gold, to red. Breathe in each color till it feels like your body and mind are filled with the color. Continue to meditate on colors that make you feel wonderful or relaxed or peaceful.
2 Your Special Place
Pick a place you feel safe and comfortable. Visualize this place clearly and step in, following the steps in Exercise 10. Spend some time meditating as if you are actually there.
3 A Deep Pond
Imagine a deep blue pond. Notice some fish below the surface darting around. Take a silver coin from your pocket and toss it into the center of the pond. As the coin slowly drifts down allow yourself to relax.
4 Walking Meditation
While walking start becoming aware of your breath. Expand this awareness to include the feel of the clothes on your body and the feel of your feet on the ground. While continuing your awareness of your breath and body, become aware of the place you are walking and the scenery around you. Finally, being aware of breath, body and surroundings add the huge dome of the sky above you and the earth below you. Breathe deeply and relish this expanded sense of awareness.
5 Eating Meditation
It helps to be grateful before you eat as this prepares your mind to enjoy the meal. Take each bite consciously and enjoy the taste and texture. Chew slowly and take your time.
6 Candle Flame Meditation
Light a candle and sit comfortably in front of it. Focus only on the flame allowing any thoughts arising to just pass by. Watch how the candle dances. Then close your eyes and continue to focus on the flame in your minds eye. If you lose the image open your eyes and gaze at the candle again. If you like you can imagine any thought arising to go and burn up in the flame. This will help you attin a focused meditative state.
7 Breathing In A Smell
Smell is very important to us and easily alters our internal states. Pick a flower or food that smells extremely good to you. Breath in this smell deeply and slowly. Take your time enjoying the feeling of the smell “fill” your body.
8 Mirror Meditation
Get a mirror and sit comfortably in front of it. Look into your eyes and repeat any affirmation you would like to meditate on. For example, “I feel relaxed” or “I am confident” and so on.
9 Mental Rehearsal
Professional Athletes spend time not only practicing but also mentally rehearsing their moves. Studies have shown that this mental rehearsal improves actual performance. Think of an activity that you would like to excel at. Spend time visualizing each move exactly how you want o do it. Do this in detail. Then repeat several times. You can enhance this ability by doing the candle flame meditation before this.
10 Smile Meditation
Studies have shown that a genuine smile releases endorphins into your bloodstream, relieving stress and even rejuvenating your entire mind and body. The smile meditation is easy to do and very effective at feeling really good, quickly.
Think of something funny to start you smiling. It could be an event, a movie, a cute baby or even a puppy. Anything to bring a good smile on your face.
Imagine this smile spreading over face, down your neck and into your body.
Meditate on the smile till your whole body begins to feel like a big smile.