If there is a mental practice that has stood the test of time to reduce stress and worry - it is none other than meditation.
A type of meditation known as mindful meditation has done a good job in proving itself quite effective in reducing stress over time.
It is proven to improve attention, cognitive performance, and increase the gray matter density in the brain.
As per the latest studies, a little bit of mindful meditation practice on a daily basis would go a long way. It helps quiet your mind in stressful situations. A quiet mind will not worry about the past or become anxious about the future. It will just rest in the present moment.
When your mind is at rest in the present moment, there is no way for stress or worry to disturb your peace. This is how meditation will help reduce your stress drastically.
Although meditation is still not mainstream, there are many people who practice it. And, they get the many benefits that meditation offers.
Mindful meditation is not difficult to practice. It involves sitting comfortably and focusing your attention on the breath. Once your mind becomes calmer, you need to bring your attention to the present moment without drifting to concerns about the past or future.
Researchers from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD have conducted over 19,000 meditation studies. Their findings were later published in the JAMA Internal Medicine which says that mindful meditation can help ease psychological stresses such as anxiety, pain, and depression.
Dr. Elizabeth Hoge, who is a psychiatrist at the Massachusetts General Hospital, states that mindful meditation makes perfect sense when it comes to treating anxiety and depression.
In fact, people suffering from stress or worry often do not recognize or know how to get away from obsessive thoughts and see these thoughts for what they are - just repeating thought patterns that have no value. This is where mindful meditation comes in handy.
Just because a thought repeats itself over and over, doesn't mean that you need to follow that thought if it is not serving you.
Mindful meditation will train a person to be in the present moment. The practice will show you how to distance yourself from unproductive thoughts that repeat without any purpose.
You need not get involved in these thought patterns. In fact, you can simply acknowledge these thoughts and let them go.
Mindfulness is described as a practice of paying attention to the present moment curiously, purposely and without any judgment. It takes your mind away from the past troubles and future worries.
When your mind is in the present moment, you will not have worry or stress. You can become stress and worry-free quite easily with a regular meditation practice.
A report published in the Journal of Health Psychology reveals that mindful meditation is not only associated with low-stress levels but linked to decreased levels of stress hormone - cortisol.
Mindful meditation will help us see beyond the colored glasses when we need to objectively analyze ourselves. It helps you see the reality as it is without any colored glasses. It lets you get to know your true self more closely.
When you are not fighting yourself, you can accept yourself just the way you are. Accepting oneself with all his or her flaws is one of the most important things to reduce stress and worry in your life.
What might look like an unhealthy stressful situation to one person can become a bracing challenge for another. In fact, stress is not a set of external circumstances as most of you would like to think.
It is, in fact, your response to those circumstances. It is all about how you respond to certain challenges in your life. If you are not that good at dealing with stress, you can easily learn new coping behaviors in order to live in a more balanced way.
An important thing to remember when managing stress is to break it down into separate parts. Each part will have different causes and different solutions. Taking personal responsibility is one way to deal with stress effectively.
There are things within our control and things that are outside of our control. Either way, we still have control over how we respond to both of those types of situations.
Although it may seem counter-intuitive, an individual is responsible for generating his/her own stress responses. However, it is much easier to blame your stress on outside events that are beyond your control. Many of us continue to do this without realizing the stressful effect it has on us.
The only way to alter your stress response is to take responsibility for your own stress.
This helps you take back the power that you project on outside circumstances. You begin to understand that you are powerful and responsible for your stress. This is where meditation comes in handy.
Meditation involves taking responsibility for your mental states. It trains a person to alter his or her responses to outside circumstances. There is a lot that meditation can do when it comes to dealing with stress.
Cultivating the skill of mindfulness is important when dealing with stress and worry. It helps us become aware of certain patterns that our mind and emotions give rise to. This includes the patterns of response that most of us see as stress.
We can become aware of how we blow things out of proportion in our minds. These responses add to our woes in the long run. This is how we build unnecessary stress in our day to day life.
You can become aware of how you indulge in anxious thoughts when you are mindful. Once we are aware of these unnecessary mental activities, we are in a better position to do something about it.
When you are aware of your mental patterns, you have a choice to act in a different way. With awareness comes choice. When you are not aware of your mental patterns, you have no choice over how you act in that particular situation.
Meditation helps you become more aware of how to make the correct choices which will lead to outcomes that are more supportive of your growth. This is the importance of meditation to reduce stress and worry in our life.
Relaxation techniques can help you let go of unhealthy emotional states which can lead to the arising of physical tensions.
Meditation is one of the best ways to relax your body.
Changing your breathing and posture has a positive effect on your mental state at that particular moment. Meditation helps a person quickly identify and work with mental states of worry and stress.
This helps a person experience these states less often and experience other positive mental states more often. All these can help you reduce stress and worry in the long run.
Mindful meditation is not the only discipline that is important to deal with stress and worry. There are many other effective meditation practices for this purpose.
In fact, meditation is just an umbrella term used to describe a relaxed state of being. There are many other meditation methods that will help you achieve the same goal of reducing your stress and worry.
Guided meditation or guided imagery or visualization is another effective technique in this regard. You form mental images of places and situations that you find relaxing. You need to use as many senses as possible when performing visualization techniques. Use senses such as smell, sight, sound, texture, and hearing for this purpose.
Mantra meditation is another effective meditation method that helps to calm your mind. Here, you need to keep on repeating a calming word silently. It will prevent distraction thoughts and reduce the stress in your mind.
Tai chi, Qi gong, Transcendental meditation, and yoga are some of the other types of meditation practice that will help you reduce stress and worry quite effectively.
Watching your thoughts and not becoming engaged in them is probably the biggest part of the practice.
Although it might be difficult at the beginning, you will get the hang of it when you practice it on a daily basis. This is why you need to allocate at least 10-15 minutes a day to develop your meditation skills. This is the best way to reduce your stress and worry in the long run.