Stress is a part of life. It can come during work, school, and life. A guided meditation for stress helps deal with this regular and natural part of life. Not only can it help you deal with stress, but also allow you to cut through the stress so that it doesn’t interfere with your productivity, health, and energy.
Stress is a completely normal and evolved response to the chaos, perceived threats, and unexpected dangers in the world. While much of today’s stress comes from things that aren’t so life-and-date (like a work deadline), the same fight or flight response is used to protect us in the state of an emergency, and when we’re defending ourselves.
Think about the last time when your body just took over during a stressful situation. Maybe it was when you we’re about to take the game-winning shot and your hands started shaking. Maybe it was before you were about to propose to your spouse and your legs starter to quiver. Maybe it was when you almost rear-ended that car and last second, your body clenched up as you hit the brakes.
This is an evolved reactionary response that we have little control over.
However, what we do have control over is how we react and judge our response to these kinds of events. We also can control how much we allow stress and stressful situations distract us or impact us.
What is meditation for stress?
When we’re preparing to deal with a stressful situation or we’re currently dealing with some stress maybe caused by life, work, or school, a guided meditation can walk you through the process of being more mindful of your body’s response to these perceived threats and stressors.
With an instructor, a guided meditation for stress will teach you how to draw your attention away from what is causing you stress and bring your attention inward to the body and to the present moment.
There are also guided meditations that use visualization to help improve our mood, as well as give us a tool that we can use at any time, whenever we’re feeling stressed out.
Guided meditations for stress
How meditation reduces stress
Stress and symptoms of stress can be reduced through regular meditation by training us to respond to stressful situations and stressful thoughts differently.
In addition, meditation also has the side-effect of calming us, and giving us a time and space for ourselves, away from our busy lives, even if just for a moment or two.
Firstly, mindfulness meditation can teach us how to recognize stressful thoughts for what they are: just thoughts.
It’s not stressful thoughts that cause us grief and turn our stomachs, it’s our reaction and judgement to these thoughts.
Through regular mindfulness meditation you can learn to catch the thought before you impulsively act on it.
How often has a seemingly benign thought about something stress gone out of control and practically ruined your day, without anything actually happening, and just being lost in the thought?
“That paper is due next week… what if I don’t finish it on time? If I don’t finish it on time, I’ll fail the course… if I fail the course, my parents are going to be really upset. If they get really upset, they’ll stop paying for my college…” and so on, and so on.
Even when we’re experiencing a stressful situation, it’s always the calm and level-headed person that comes through it with just a few scratches rather than a bunch of scars, or worse.
Remember that training yourself and your mind to have a more reasonable and rational response to stressful thinking and stressful situation is much better in the long run.
Finally, regular guided meditation for stress that uses visualization can give us a quicker fix during times when we need stress relief.
How to meditate for stress
To meditate for stress, you’ll only need a quiet space and a seat. Even if you don’t have privacy or quiet, this meditation practice can still help you manage your stress.
Sit on a chair or cushion on the floor with an upright but comfortable posture. Rest your hands in your lap, and close your eyes. If you don’t have privacy, you can also do this meditation with your eyes open.
Place your attention on the physical points of contact. Notice your feet and legs against the floor or chair. Notice your arms in your lap and back against the chair.
Notice any physical sensations as you place your attention on these points of contact. Notice and mood or feelings that arise as you do this.
If your mind begins to try to wander to thoughts of stress or worries, notice this, and gently return your attention back to these physical points of contact.
Bring your attention now to the breath. The rise and fall of each breath. You may notice this more in your chest or stomach.
And again, as you do this, notice when the mind wanders. Notice what thoughts, moods, or feelings enter the mind. Whenever the mind becomes distracted, gently bring your attention back to the breath.
It’s important to not follow the thinking with more thinking. It’s important to notice these thoughts, moods, and feelings non-judgementally.
Use this practice to manage stress and bring your attention back to the body and back to the breath. Back to the present moment and not lost in thoughts of the future and worries.