Friday, 27 March 2015

Using Meditation to Reduce Daily Stress

Learning to live in complete acceptance of ourselves, content with where we are now without craving the past or longing for the future, is the stillness of mind that meditation will bring. This state of non-thinking is called mindfulness; it is the quality of being fully engaged in the present moment without analyzing the experience.
Living in the twenty-first century is contingent upon learning to volley a constant barrage of tasks. We suffer feelings of inadequacy and guilt over feats we didn't accomplish and endeavours that did not shine as well as when someone else completed them. Our technical society changes faster than people can learn to adapt. Repetitive busy schedules establish a fertile ground for the growth of stress. It is ingrained in our culture to stay one step ahead of disaster. Unfortunately, the consequence of this is that we remain one step removed from ourselves. We don't treasure the gifts we have to offer ourselves nor do we see the value of what we can offer other people.
What is Meditation?
Relaxation and meditation are two different states. In meditation, the mind is focussed while the body is relaxed. Meditation requires a balancing of effort and relaxation, both physically and mentally. Self-awareness brings about humility and a better union of spirit, mind and body. Relaxation of the body prepares the mind for meditation. If the body is relaxed, we are released from the preoccupation with its comfort which sets the stage for meditation to begin. Meditation is a challenging state to achieve because it is hard to focus the mind when the body is relaxed; there is a tendency to drift off to sleep.
Train Yourself to be Mindful
Setting the groundwork for meditation with mindful relaxation is a powerful antidote to stress. Regardless of your success with finding a higher plane of introspection, poising the body in a relaxed state is an effective technique for reducing anxiety and depression.
Mindfulness Meditation Techniques
Sit comfortably or lie on your back. Place your hands on your abdomen so you can feel the difference between your inhale and exhale. Mentally scan your body starting with the head and drift from body part to body part simply acknowledging how they feel. Sense your skin temperature, the pressure of your body weight against the ground and notice how your clothing feels. If you feel yourself starting to drift off, bring yourself back into the present by focusing on the sensations inside of your body; the flow of your breath and the feel of your skin.
If you do not like to sit or cannot find a place to rest, practise mindfulness while you walk. Be aware of the sole of your foot as you step down on it. Allow the sounds in the environment to pass through you without analyzing them. Experience the movement of your body, the rhythm of your breath, and the feeling of wind on your face.
Relax while you eat. Slow down your eating with mindful attention to the texture of food in your mouth, the reaction of your saliva to the taste, the response of your body to the aroma, the feel of swallowing, and the difference between feeling hungry and beginning to satiate your hunger.
Try to find 10 to 20 minutes each day to experience mindfulness. Avoid meditating when you are too sleepy to stay aware of your thoughts or in the place where you would normally feel stressed. Try different locations. If you enjoy time alone, practise by yourself in the dark or with a single candlelight. If you are a social person, try a class; the presence of other people might motivate you to continue trying.
Yoga is a wonderful introduction to the practise of relaxation and meditation, but you don't have to take yoga to practise mindfulness. Daily meditation will change your thought patterns; it will weaken your association with negative emotions and strengthen the ones related to happiness and serenity. At our goal is to provide the conditions through which retreatants can deepen their practice, make friends with themselves and the world, and return home with a greater capacity for both contentment and purpose

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