Stress relief – Meditation
Even a complete beginner can use mediation for stress relief, and with some practice meditation can become an essential tool for completely releasing stress as well.
What exactly is meditation? Depending on who you ask, meditation can be anything from a breathing exercise, visualization exercise, relaxation exercise, emotional introspection, deep thought to even faking meditation by assuming a stereotypical posture (this one is not recommended).
The most basic form of meditation is simply to pay attention to your thoughts. You will notice that thinking is not linear – thoughts are jumping all over the place. Noticing that and ‘pruning’ unnecessary thoughts is a basic meditation technique. If you combine this kind of calming of the mind with taking deep regular breaths, you got yourself a nice tool for stress relief.
Advanced forms of meditation against stress include visualizing stress (as a way of giving form to your tension and fears), and then imagining a way of releasing it. This kind of visualization exercise establishes a connection between your emotions and your mind, and can show you ways you can use to deal with the stressful situation.
Stress relief – Exercise
Physical exercise contributes to keeping your body healthy, but how can it provide stress relief?
Many times stress is caused by having too much energy and no outlet – the mind then decides to spend that energy on worrying over something and converts it into stress. In this case, physical exercise channels that energy into a constructive activity, and exercise becomes something akin to meditation which helps prune away dangling thoughts.
In case there is a lack of energy (maybe if stress lasted too long and resulted in a state of depression), exercise can help build up motivation and focus.
Exercise is about reconnecting with your body, becoming more aware of your rhythms, limitation and capabilities. It puts your mind back into HERE and NOW, this point in space-time where you are yourself (and not the things you stress about).
Exercise also makes other forms of stress relief easier: after exercise it is easier to relax, meditate, or at least have a good night’s sleep. Mens sana in corpore sano – it is much more wholesome, natural and easier to have a healthy mind in a healthy body than to have only either one.