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3 Ways to Do Meditation: When You Feel Stress


Are you someone who feels stressed out a lot? Then you are not alone. The world is a stressful place, and it can often have a major impact on the way that we live our lives. We often find that our lives are pressure-filled and stressful to the point where it can make it quite hard for us to do things as we would normally have intended.

When you feel stressed, though, you can find it hard to get a solution. Some of us put our stress down to our diets and lifestyles, so we change how we eat and drink. We do what we can to stay hydrated, and we stop eating so many foods high in fats, sugars, and salts. However, when you feel like you aren’t making any progress through conventional lifestyle means, you might want to take a look at getting into a bout of meditation.

One of the main issues that we find with meditation is that many people do not appreciate just how powerful it is as a source of mental wellness. Our mind is often the biggest barrier that we need to overcome if we wish to live our happiest, healthiest quality of life. Mediation has been shown to have a serious impact on that: the bottom line is that meditation is great for both physical and mental rejuvenation.

Sound like a common problem? Then you should definitely look to the following three ways to do meditation. Alongside making other lifestyle changes like staying hydrated, cutting down on work hours, and being more productive in the hours we do work, the following forms of meditation are almost certain to help you live your happiest, healthiest life.

So, what matters when you wish to take on meditation? How can various forms of meditation help with stress?

1. Focus with Concentrative Meditation

Probably the best form of meditation to start with when you just need to find a focus is to start with some concentrative meditation. This means taking a single object, sound, mantra, whatever, and focusing on that entirely. Turning your thoughts to that entirely.

For example, do you have holiday time coming up and you know you just need to get through the next 2-3 weeks to get there? Then focus your mind on the beach where you are going to be staying. Think about the location, the sights, the sounds, the soothing of the sand on your skin. It gives you an immense sense of focus when you have something so specific to concentrate on.

A bit of focus and visualization can go a long, long way to making sure you can stay entirely focused on the task and journey at hand. Get used to doing that, and before long you will be in a much better place with regards to the quality and intensity of your ability to remain focused on the task at hand.

2. Rhythmic Movement and Mindful Exercise

Another good place to start with meditation is with some exercise mixed in with the meditation itself. While most of us don’t imagine going for a run, a swim, or a cycling session can be particularly calming for the mind, it can be very good for us in some ways. We recommend that you find an exercise that you can do with repetition: for example, riding a bicycle on a stationary surface will ensure that you can rest, relax, and get into your own frame of thinking whilst working the body at the same time.

Like many of us, though, you might find that you try to problem solve when you are working out. Instead, let yourself enjoy the repetition of the physical movement whilst letting your mind get a bit of a rest as well. Instead of thinking about what you will do in work tomorrow, think about all the things happening around you. Think about the feeling of your feet on the pedals, the picking up of the pace of your breathing, the way that your body adjusts and adapts to match and re-balance yourself.

Exercise becomes more soothing when we just let ourselves think of the feelings that the exercise creates in the first place. When you try to exercise and do a bit of life organizing all at once, you will be very much likely to find it hard to make enough of a difference. Instead, concentrate on the repetitive movement and the feelings those movements create nothing else. Before long, your workouts will produce both mental relaxation and physical improvement!

3. Muscle Relaxation

Lastly, one of the best ways to use meditation is to help make your muscles feel a bit more relaxed. Do you ever feel as if all of your muscles are tight and tense? That you cannot get any kind of relaxation in the arms and legs? Then you should look to try out using mediation to help with this. To do so, start working on each of the muscles that you feel needs help by simply tensing them up.

Honestly, just try it! Tensing up a muscle – holding it as tense as you can, while taking in slow, deep breaths – is excellent for then relaxing the muscle. Our body will start to immediately let a tense muscle relax, and you will feel an immediate sense of relief and comfort as soon as you do so.

By simply relaxing the muscles after tensing them up until the count of 10, you can start to feel a sense of total relief in a previously distressed muscle. Do this with one foot, then the other, then move up the body until you have tensed just about every muscle group that you can.


About the Author:

Jessica Max is the community manager at hydration calculator. She is a fitness writer. She uses her training to help other women struggling to get fit in mid-life. When not working, Jessica enjoys cycling and swimming.



Why You Should Consider Yoga and Meditation


It is estimated that one in five adults will experience a mental illness in any given year with anxiety disorders as the leading cause. Mental illness is recognized when an individual shows ongoing signs and symptoms of stress that affect their ability to function. Mental illness may impact a person’s mood, behavior, and capacity to think or concentrate.

While those suffering from mental illness may feel alone, lost, or incapacitated, research has shown that along with diet and exercise, mindfulness practices such as yoga and meditation can offer amazing benefits that may help some to reduce and/or manage symptoms of mental illness.

Benefits of Yoga

Yoga is one of the oldest body-and-mind practices in the world dating back nearly 5,000 years. Through the use of body positions and postures, breathing techniques, and mindful meditation, yoga provides several benefits to help manage your mental illness. Here are three.

Improves Heart Rate Variability

Heart Rate variability is based on how your heart rate varies when you inhale and exhale. A higher variability is an indicator of physical and mental resilience. Studies show that practicing yoga for as little as six weeks shows an improved heart rate variability as well as a lower resting heart rate; two indicators of a strong stress-response.

Cultivates Positive Thinking

Mental illness is often identified by chronic or frequent bouts of sadness, emptiness, and irritability that impacts a person’s ability to function. Studies have shown that the physical and mindfulness of yoga actually changes the long-term effects of how your brain responds to depression, in some ways acting as a natural antidepressant.

Creates Better Understanding of Self

The mindfulness and mental development promoted by yoga helps a person realize “shadow” qualities they did not know they possessed. Whether those qualities are empathy toward others, confidence, the ability to overcome obstacles, or greater control over mind and body, yoga can open profound possibility.


Benefits of Meditation

Meditation is the practice of achieving mental clarity and emotional calm through mindfulness and awareness techniques. The goal of meditation is to bring a person into the “now” while putting aside the stressors brought on by overthinking the past and future. Here are three ways meditation can benefit mental illness.

Improves Sleep

Insomnia is a leading cause of mental illness causing a disruption in your circadian rhythm and sleep patterns. Meditation helps to reduce insomnia and improve sleep quality by focusing your mind on the now rather than the past which cannot be changed and the future which is unpredictable. This awareness helps to place perspective on your surroundings and ease your mind of daily stress leading to a sounder sleep.

Reduces the Chemical Cytokines

Cytokines are inflammatory chemicals that your body releases in response to stress. They can have a negative impact on your mood and emotions. In fact, one scientific-based study on meditation showed significant measurable signs of positive thinking and optimism.

Can Control Pain

How you perceive pain has a direct connection to your state of mind. For people who experience mental illness, their perception of pain can be elevated while experiencing stressful conditions. Meditation has been shown to increase brain activity in areas that control pain. In fact, meditation is used to manage chronic pain for people with terminal illnesses such as cancer.

Yoga and meditation whether practiced independently or symbiotically have been shown to improve the negative effects of mental illness by creating mental and physical awareness, improving sleep, and directly impacting your body’s chemical imbalances to create a positive mental state of being. So, if you’re looking for a mindful way to manage mental illness, ten minutes of yoga or meditation is a great start.


About the Author:  Laurie is a writer based on the east coast who enjoys spending her days writing on health and wellness topics. In her free time, she loves doing anything that gets her outdoors breathing fresh air.






Meditation Has Changed My Life and the Very Sense of Who I Am

​​To imagine that one can ​survive horrible hospital stays, car accidents, ​multiple ​death​s​ of a loved ones, traumatic​ life​ situations and, yes, even insomnia by simply practicing meditation is a radical thought.

We know that meditation has been around for thousands of years and practiced by people from all walks of life and on all parts of the globe , but there is one common myth about meditation, however, that often leads to a sense of failure and why people give up on the practice.

This is the Myth: That meditation is supposed to work to calm and quiet the mind.

I know this to be false. Do not get me wrong, a feeling of calm and a quiet in one’s mind is sometimes a result of meditation, and a lovely one at that, but the purpose of meditation is not to calm the mind or the self. You have not failed if your mind does not become like a still pool reflecting the moons image, as a result of this practice. It is the nature of the mind to keep generating thoughts, endlessly, whether meditating or not. Some 70-80 thousand of them a day. Some people who have meditated for decades continue to house a wild animal, (affectionately known as monkey mind) inside their heads. The purpose of meditation is not to change the nature of the wild animal/monkey, not to turn it into a docile rabbit. Rather, the purpose is simply to observe the monkey — to SEE what is happening within your own mind and your own self. That’s it! Nothing fancy.

Noticing the mind jumping about — doing its monkey thing — is meditating. If the mind quiets, as a result of being observed, (which it often does) that’s wonderful, but whether it does or not is of no consequence. What changes as a result of meditation is not necessarily the speed and frequency of the thoughts that appear, but rather our relationship with those thoughts.

Through the practice of meditation, we become less identified with the story lines that runs through our head, less convinced that our thoughts hold some inherent truth or importance, and less committed to solving each problem/​trauma/ experience​​ about which our thoughts remind us. You could say that we lose a degree of interest in the monkey mind’s song (or screech). Sometimes the mind quiets as a result of our lack of interest — of our paying it less mind — and sometimes it just screeches louder. Again, neither outcome is a testament to the success or failure of meditation, just something else to notice.

So what is the big deal, then? Why all this talk about meditation when (possibly) nothing about the mind changes as a result of it. What is startling is that everything can change as a result of not trying to change anything. It’s​ counter-intuitive. Really. We do not set out with the purpose of changing who we are (or if we do, we simply notice that too), and yet who we are changes once we are simply allowed to be.

“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” — Carl Rogers.

What happens as a result of witnessing our own mind (without judgment or commentary) is that, over time, we realize that we are actually not that mind, nor the thoughts, beliefs, ideas, and all else that it spews out. We realize that the mind will happen on its own, generating content, with or without our participation. We realize that who we are, our very identity, is the one who is witnessing all that ​goes on. All that monkeying about. ​In meditation, we become the silent witness. The purpose of meditation is not to change our mind, but to awaken the self that is aware of it!

You are successfully meditating IF you meditate. If you take one moment to see what is occurring inside your own mind — without getting involved in its contents, without engaging in the dialogue, the story line, just looking, with curiosity — you are doing it right. ​For 45+ years I have been practicing to ‘be the witness’. To not buy into the stories. To just be with what is. To practice a radical act of love. And I am still ‘practicing’. ​

“It is indeed a radical act of love just to sit down and be quiet for a time with yourself.” — Jon Kabat-Zinn

PATTI MOSESpatti-green-top-lattice


Patti started her own meditation practice in her teens and maintains a daily practice into her 60’s. She has spent countless hours, days and months in silent retreats and created a beginners Meditation class over 10 years ago. Patti then went on to expand her teachings to include Advanced courses, Book Study Groups and 1/2 Day Silent retreats. Never satisfied with the status quo, Patti then channelled her creative juices into the “Mindful Living” Line which includes Mindful Cushions (zafus), Mindful Mats (zabutons), Yoga Eye Pillows, Scented Sachets and all things Mindful. Patti is also local therapist who uses Mindfulness and Meditation in her Private Practice and finds it especially effective for clients with depression and anxiety. Patti can be reached at pattimoses@gmail.com or by texting or calling 519-503-0400

How To Start A Personalized Meditation Process

Meditation and mindfulness methods best suited for depression and anxiety.

Meditation and mindfulness research has been making major headlines in 2017. Across the scientific literature you can generally find a similar definition for the meditative state: present-centred, non-judgemental awareness. Sounds pretty peaceful doesn’t it? We knew the wellness trend would continue but we Westerners didn’t quite foresee how much this ancient practice could shift our emotional experience, our overall perspective, and our physical well being. Thank goodness for some good news!

Now that we’re open to the idea of meditation and mindfulness the first question is often how do I begin? Home practice – especially guided practice – can be a great way to begin one’s relationship with meditation. I often see beginners make a common assumption after their first attempt with meditation; they try one style of guided meditation and sometimes assume the whole field of meditation and mindfulness isn’t for them. As teachers in the sector we could be doing a better job of promoting a personalized approach to meditation and mindfulness, informing meditators of all the styles and methods available and helping to guide students towards their own intuitive nature. Perhaps humans are far too interesting and complex for a one-size-fits-all perspective? For now, let’s focus on methods of meditation and mindfulness that are best suited towards students in some mental distress, namely depression and anxiety.

Some methods of meditation are better suited for those struggling with anxiety and/or depression than others. Generally speaking methods that are categorized in the literature as focused-attention (FA) are best suited to reduce anxiety and aid in disrupting depressive thinking habits. Those techniques include: 

a) Mindful breathing (as long as this doesn’t exacerbate things for individuals who may be triggered by focusing on breathing)

b) guided visualization

c) body-scanning techniques including ones found in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), progressive relaxation, and the practice of yoga Nidra.

Generally my guidance to those beginning their practice is as follows; some methods will work well for you while others, much less so. Try at least one meditation in each style and then choose a method that you feel works best with the nature of your own mind. Choosing a partner or finding a therapist we relate to easily is a highly individualized pursuit, and the same is true for finding a method of meditation best suited to the nature of your own mind.

Here are two meditations in each of the methods I mentioned above:

Body Awareness Meditation


Breathing Exercises (watching the breath, not manipulating the breath – as that method is not best suited for those with a tendency towards anxiety)


Guided Visualizations (can be done seated or laying down):


Before you begin let me say that the best way to enter a meditation practice is in a state of deep readiness. If you feel like you should be doing it or you’re strongly resisting the process, try giving yourself 20 minutes to relax before attempting to sit down. Remember the big picture and your desire to move towards health, happiness and peace, and start small. Even 5 minutes counts! Wellness is a lifelong strategy – be patient and enjoy!

Emily Squirrell, Founder, The Present Centre for Meditation & Mindfulness

Meditation to Release Anxiety

Feel free to set a timer for 10 minutes.

Sit in a comfortable position on a pillow on the floor or in a chair. Find a focus point to gaze at, or softly close your eyes.

Be present in the moment.

Don’t worry about what has happened earlier today or what needs to happen later on.

Be here in the moment and focus on the breath.

Let the space around you be free of judgement. Imagine sitting by the window and the sun beaming with light. The rays of the sun are shining in through the window and radiating positive energy all around you.

Take a deep breathe in through the nose and exhale through the mouth, two times. Inhale cleansing air in, exhale any tension that does not serve you. Inhale Confidence, Exhale Fear.

Then coming to the natural rhythm of your breath as you breathe in and out of your nose.

Inhale, bring awareness to your breath.

Exhale, ground your feet into the earth.

Inhale, lengthen through from the base of your spine to the crown of your head.

Exhale, draw the navel slightly back towards the spine.

Inhale, rest your hands in your lap on top of one another, palms facing up or hands resting on your knees.

Exhale, relax your jaw, allowing space between the teeth but still keeping your mouth closed.

Inhale, lift the shoulders up towards your ears

Exhale, round your shoulders back and down.

Inhale, soften the muscles in your face including the space between your eyebrows.

Continue to breathe, feel free to count your breath. Inhale 1, Exhale 2, Inhale 3, Exhale 4. Continue at your own pace until you reach 10 then start from 1 again.

When thoughts arise and distract you from breathing, imagine a cloud gently floating the thoughts away.

Bring awareness back to the breath; feel free to place one hand on your stomach and one hand on your heart. Inhale to feel the stomach lift, exhale to feel the stomach to lower.

Bring attention to your heart, inhale love, exhale anxiety.

Continue to breathe at your own rhythm.

Once the timer goes off slowly open your eyes to come back to the present moment.

Meditation on a regular basis helps us become more focused, reduces anxiety and helps to increase our self-awareness to our physical body, emotions and thoughts.

Take a moment to thank yourself for taking the time to practice.

Stacey Harris, MSW, RSW
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Credit for window photo: Sunlight, Jason Tessier

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