How to Use Mindful Meditation to Relieve Stress
Stress is a common reaction to change—unexpected or otherwise. When routines are suddenly disrupted, it can be difficult to adapt. This can bring high-pressured feelings that often lead to mental and physical problems.
In times of uncertainty, stress management is crucial. You can’t control the outside world, but you can control how you react to it. Being mindful of your thoughts can be a source of power and relief. “It has a lot of benefits,” declared Carol Hendershot, a certified stress-reduction instructor and co-founder of the Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness.
“[It] reduces rumination and overthinking. It alleviates stress, it enhances our self-awareness, increases focus and creativity. It can [also] improve relationships, decrease our reactivity, improve memory and concentration.”
A mindful practice like meditation gives you the opportunity to reset and recharge. It doesn’t require equipment or a specific time commitment. You can experience noticeable results in just minutes a day. To begin, follow the acronym S.T.O.P.
“S stands for stop. That’s the easy one,” explained Hendershot. “The T [is for] take a breath. The O is for observe, because we narrow our attention when we’re stressed. And sometimes the P stands for park because we realize that whatever we’re paying attention to just isn’t in our power to do anything about.”
There’s no right or wrong practice in meditation. But there are multiple techniques you can use. Some utilize guided imagery, while others focus on muscle relaxation or specific stress reduction. Everyone has their own unique experience. The key is finding what works for you and sticking with it.
Take your first step into the world of guided meditation with an introductory session. Click here to get Hendershot’s easy-to-follow instruction.
For more information on mindfulness, check out A Healthier Michigan Podcast with host Chuck Gaidica. In this episode, he and Hendershot explore the mental and physical benefits of this daily practice.
- Five Surprising Ways Stress Affects the Body
- Defining Stress: The Good, the Bad the Unhealthy
- Combating a Hidden Health Crisis: Chronic Stress
Photo credit: PeopleImages