How Does Meditation Reduce Stress?
Life is hectic. Most people get used to feeling anxious and stressed all the time. Yet as we learn more about the role stress plays in our mental and physical health, it becomes abundantly clear that chronic stress is not sustainable. Thus, it’s essential we learn to properly manage our stress. The risk of not doing so is just too high. Enter meditation.
Meditation has taught people to deal with stress for thousands of years. Today, mindfulness meditation is commonly practiced by people in all corners of the world to reduce stress and encourage calmness and relaxation.
“Meditation is able to pull us out of baggage from the past and angst about the future, so we can use all of our energy to focus on what’s directly in front of us, requiring our time and attention.”
Talkspace therapist Meaghan Rice, PsyD, LPC
If you consistently feel tense, worried, or anxious, consider the many benefits of meditation. Meditating even just a few minutes a day can help restore inner peace, a sense of calmness, and overall well-being. It works, in part, by countering the effects of stress hormones like cortisol and reducing systemic inflammation.
Meditation is for everybody. It’s easy to learn, free, and doesn’t require any type of equipment, cost, or resources. All you need is time (and not a lot of it). You can meditate in the middle of an open field by a trickling stream, on the New York City subway, or even sitting at your desk during the busiest part of your workday.
Meditation allows you to remove blockages from your past and deeply focus your energies on finding the source of stress you’re experiencing in the present. It’s a focused attention on reality — and the things that matter most right now. Meditation is a vehicle to manifest your true desires and optimize performance in any area of your life.
Key principles of meditation for stress
Learning how to meditate for stress isn’t as difficult or mysterious as you might think. It doesn’t require a huge time investment. It’s simple, pure, and can result in noticeable effects very quickly.
Though there are several types of meditation, there are some key principles all forms are based upon. Meditative practices all include the ideas that:
- Stress isn’t always bad (learn more about good stress vs. bad stress)
- People feel and manage stress in different ways
- We can determine what type of psychological stress is healthy vs. unhealthy
Meditation is considered an alternative therapy that integrates a mind-body connection. Via various possible techniques, it produces deep states of tranquility and relaxation. When we meditate, our attention remains focused, and we can eliminate distorted thinking that’s common during times of extreme stress.
The goal of meditation for stress reduction is not to completely eliminate all sources of stress. Rather, it’s to help us understand, cope with, and overcome daily stressors. Then, we can become focused and ready to face the day with renewed, energized, vigor.