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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.



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

Yama #1: Practicing Ahimsa

I first learnt about Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras while staying at an Ashram in Rishikesh, India. Patanjali discusses the eight limbs of yoga, the first of which is Yama. The five Yamas are a set of moral values. The first Yama in Sanskrit is called Ahimsa which means non-harming. It consists of being kind to yourself and all other living creatures.

Are you mindful of your thoughts, words and actions?

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony.”

Mahatma Gandhi

Practicing Ahimsa starts as soon as you wake up in the morning. Most of the time we are in such a rush getting ready for work and organizing the day that we don’t take a moment to appreciate the simple things around us. For instance, the food in the fridge and cupboards, unlimited water right from the tap, the bed you slept in, the blankets that kept you warm. Try taking a moment to appreciate all the gifts that are easily at your grasp. Then praise yourself for being kind to your body by giving it rest, water, and food to provide yourself energy during the day. Additionally, how often do you reflect on the kind things you did for yourself and others throughout your day? Did you take time to do things you enjoy such as reading, cooking, or exercise? It is common to feel more energized and less stressed when you take time to engage in activities you enjoy.

A big phenomenon in today’s media saturated society is body image. It is common for people to start comparing themselves to the images they see in magazines and movies. Yet another way to practice Ahimsa is to love yourself, including your body and the abilities that you possess. Everyone has a different body structure and we are all unique beings – embrace the gifts and quirks you are given. Many people attend the gym or an exercise program that works for them, whether it is because they want to make healthy changes, gain self-confidence or relieve anxiety and stress. It is common for people to start feeling better about themselves after exercise. However, it is also important for everyone to listen to their body. When we don’t listen to our bodies, injuries, illnesses and negative self-talk can occur. For instance, if you are in a yoga class trying to hold tree pose but your balance is off, be kind to yourself. Our first reaction may be to think “why can’t I do this” or “your balance is not good enough.” Instead, it is important to let any judgment and expectation go. Praise yourself for showing up to your mat and practicing self-care.

Are you practicing Ahimsa toward other beings in your life? It is important to practice kindness not only with ourselves, but also with other people, creatures and the environment. Are you kind to the people and pets in your home? Are you taking time to wish them a good morning and ensuring they also get food, water and affection? Showing people and animals that you care about them makes them feel loved and valued. If you live on your own, make sure you take a look in the mirror and give yourself a smile and wish yourself a good morning. Do you greet people with a friendly smile on the street or when you enter your workplace? A smile can be contagious and can spread more positive vibes. Do you take an interest in other people by learning about them and effectively listening to what they are saying? Being in the present moment giving them your undivided attention shows the person they are important and what they have to say matters. Do you offer to help others, whether it is opening the door or simply offering your assistance if you see someone struggle? When you offer your help to others it not only benefits them, but it can also make you feel happier.

This blog asks several creative questions. These questions help you gain insight into your inner world and outer world, and help you to become the best version of yourself. You may notice some people do not smile back or offer a helping hand. It is still important to be kind with your words, thoughts and actions. Sometimes we don’t know what hardships other people are going through. It is important to be compassionate and pass no judgement.

Embrace the journey, we are all human and can make mistakes. As you practice Ahimsa, you’ll start diving into deeper self-reflection, find inner peace, and discover the gifts in your life.

Ahimsa is the first Yama, however there are still four more. The Yamas will be continued. Thank you for taking the time to read this blog about Ahimsa. Remember be kind to yourself and all other living beings.

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Stacey Harris, MSW, RSW

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