Emotional Wellbeing

Mandy Kloppers

Can mindfulness meditation be effective in reducing stress?

Having a consistent meditation routine can add so much value to your life. It can even improve your relationship with yourself, others, and even affects your physical and mental health. For many people, managing stress or anxiety is the primary reason why they want to learn mindfulness meditation.

What is stress?

We can define stress as the tension we feel when we are pressured, anxious, or too bogged down with our day-to-day tasks. Often, we feel stress in unfamiliar situations that puts us out of our comfort zone.

Stress is subjective in every individual. A new event such as a first date may not be stressful for some while it can be very nerve-wracking for others. Since it is your own emotional response, you can feel stressed when you are in a situation that you have no control in. Stress can also trigger other emotions such as anger, nervousness, and frustration.

Not all types of stress are bad. For some, channeling our stressful energy can even make them more productive at work or inspire them to do better at their craft. Unfortunately, if not properly dealt with, stress can easily cause us to feel helpless, shame, anxiety.

What does mindfulness meditation mean?

Mindfulness meditation is a popular technique viewed to be helpful in managing stress.

When we are “mindful”, we are being intentional and focused with our meditation. In a way, we are making sure that while we do our reflection, we are prioritizing the present time and moment. Mindfulness meditation allows us to be aware of what we feel, see, hear, smell, and other important cues we usually miss.

Often, we are too busy going from one place to another to stop and focus on what is happening at the present. When we are glued to our phones, Netflix, our computers, it is easy to accumulate tension and pressure. Hence, stopping to feel and observe ourselves and our environment eases so many anxieties and helps us calm our worries.

Is mindfulness meditation really beneficial in reducing stress?

Is learning mindfulness meditation even worth your time and effort? Since there are a lot of ways to meditate, you may be hesitant to try it out. However, there is a reason why mindful reflection is being practiced by thousands of people.

When your mind gets its much-needed rest after a mindfulness-based session, the accumulated stress in your body will also start to alleviate. Since it is very simple to do – all you will ever need is a comfortable space to relax and breathe – the non-complicated process allows you to invest the time to unfurl your thoughts instead.  Hence, it is a very effective method you can use for stress management.

Here are some of the advantages you can get from mindful meditation:

·   It allows you to learn about your emotions

Try meditating or simply closing your eyes for a few minutes. After a session, do you notice yourself feeling more in-tune with your mind and body?

Where do your thoughts travel when you try to unplug yourself? For many of us, we immediately think about the things that made us angry, disappointed, or unhappy. Aside from making stress manageable, meditation allows us to reflect on our emotions and assess why we are feeling that way.

·   It keeps unwanted “outbursts” at bay

How do you react in a highly stressful situation or environment? Do you keep your emotions bottled up until you burst? Although doing so can be healthy at times, many individuals actually regret their outbursts and wish to handle their feelings better.

Suppressing your feelings is not good. But controlling the way you react to negative emotions is much easier when you meditate. When you allow yourself to take things slow, you can also apply this in other situations. As an example, you can pause and think about what you want to say during a confrontation without being too hurtful with your words and actions.

·   It makes you healthier

Our mental and physical health suffers so much when we are stressed. We forget to take care of ourselves and increases our blood pressure. For many people, stress drains their energy and hinders them from exercising or preparing nutritious food. If we are unhealthy, we are more prone to dwell on our negative thoughts.

When we meditate, we are being more sensitive to our psychological and physical needs. Our bodies are also releasing the hormones that can highly affect our moods and replace them with endorphins that boost happiness.

How to start meditating

Are you ready to start living your life the way you want to? If you want to practice self-love and awareness, here are some tips to begin your meditation journey.

Learn intentional breathing

Mindfulness meditation starts with being intentional with the way we breathe. Start with simple breathing exercises, such as inhaling slowly and deeply, holding your breath, and exhaling through your nose. Once you are comfortable, do it a couple of times in a row.

Make use of a mindfulness tool

Mindfulness tools are the partners that can help you with your daily reflections. Using one that fits with your needs will allow you to recharge and release the stress from your body and mind more efficiently. 

Try different meditative positions

Meditations work and appear differently for every individual. Some prefer to lie down, some like to sit on a cushion, while others like to stand. Do what works best for you.

Listen to meditation music

While some people like meditating in a quiet place, many individuals find that listening to something actually heightens their senses and makes them focus more. Music that makes use of 528 hz frequencies is known to encourage relaxation and reduce stress and anxiety.

One slow breath at a time

For many of us, learning the path of mindfulness meditation to reduce stress can cause even more anxiety. This stems from the belief that everything we need to do has to be perfect. However, when we meditate, taking slow steps or breaths is normal and even encouraged.

If you are still a beginner at meditation, we recommend easing into it gradually. Do your reflections with the duration or period you are comfortable in. Even if it is just a few minutes, doing so will help you include it in your regular schedule without feeling too overwhelmed in the process.

Photo by Léonard Cotte on Unsplash