Stress plays a major role in each of our lives. We feel it at home when we are pressured to meet our financial obligations. At work, the nagging boss gets to our nerves when he’s looking for the report from two days ago. Our kids, no matter how much we love them, annoy us when they insist on doing what’s not to be done. When we want so much to relax and unwind but the nanny just couldn’t make it tonight, we just raise our hands in desperation because we’re going to be watching the baby instead of the movie.
Oftentimes, we fail to keep our cool at the biggest and the slightest things, and we want to blow up in anger and shout to release that heavy feeling in our chest. It seems that no matter how many times we’ve dealt with stress and anxiety, we just couldn’t get used to it. Could there be something we can do to maintain our inner balance consistently? Can we possibly find an effective strategy to keep it together – mind, body, and spirit – harmoniously?
“Relaxation techniques can be an effective way to calm anxious thinking and direct your mind to a more positive place,” says Kathleen Smith, Ph.D., LPC. The practice of meditation has long been proven to provide many benefits, the most popular of which is relaxation and inner peace. The Buddhists meditate to improve their concentration and achieve the feeling of true happiness and ecstasy. Simply stating, meditation is a method of transforming the mind. It is done by practicing the mind to be more aware of what’s happening within yourself, to be able to focus on your goal whether it be relaxation, concentration, induced sleep or literally some peace and quiet. It is also one of the best ways to calm the mind and develop inner peace. Physiologically, the benefits include lowered blood pressure, weight loss, and increased energy and exercise tolerance levels.
On the other hand, meditation has more psychological benefits than you can imagine. You become less reactive to pressure and more able to set aside minor and unimportant concerns. With a clearer mind, an individual who learns how to meditate is often more creative, more self-confident and more resilient to tough situations. According to Tom Corboy, MFT, “meditation, yoga, or other calming practices can help minimize anxiety in both the short and long term.”
Meditation Techniques that Calm the Mind
Progressive muscle relaxation
This is done by intermittently tensing and relaxing the muscles of your body, usually starting from the feet and upward to the hands. Contracting the muscles for about ten seconds works the muscle groups, tiring them and consequently producing more relaxation. This technique produces awesome calming benefits.
This technique follows the concept of Buddha, that a person becomes what he thinks he can become. If you want to be happy, you only need to think you are, in your mind, and you achieve it. You make it true by believing in it before it has happened.
A more familiar method, Qi Gong promotes good posture and relaxation. Proper breathing is key here, as it is utilized to carry and provide energy to all parts of the body. Originally, it means ‘being revived.’
“When you practice things like gratitude or mindfulness, your brain creates shortcuts for these skills, making it easier and easier each time you do it (like riding a bike!),” says Tchiki Davis, Ph.D.
Mindfulness meditation is one of the most popular techniques that is used by many Buddhists to gain more wisdom on something. It is also used to get over a traumatic event that happened in the past. It promotes self-awareness and wisdom. Mindfulness meditation is effective in treating depression and anxiety.
Whatever technique you may have chosen, the goal should be relaxation, happiness, acceptance and inner peace. Once you’ve decided which technique to use daily, you may now practice and integrate it into your daily activities – where you are focused, happy, and successful in finding the inner balance needed to thrive in this stressful and chaotic world. If you need help finding that balance in life, try reaching out to a licensed therapist online.