How does meditation reduce stress?
Life is hectic. Most people get used to feeling anxious and stressed all the time. But 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. So it is essential that we learn to manage our stress well. The risk of not doing so is simply too great. Enter meditation†
Meditation has taught people to deal with stress for thousands of years. Today, mindfulness meditation is often practiced by people in all corners of the world to reduce stress and encourage calmness and relaxation.
“Meditation can take us out of the baggage of the past and our fear of the future so that we can use all our energy to focus on what is directly in front of us, which requires our time and attention.”
Talkspace therapist Meaghan Rice, PsyD, LPC
If you feel constantly tense, worried, or anxious, consider the many benefits of meditation. Meditating even for a few minutes a day can help restore inner peace, a sense of calm and overall well-being. It works in part by counteracting the effects of stress hormones such as cortisol and reducing systemic inflammation.
Meditation is for everyone. It is easy to learn, free and requires no equipment, costs or resources. All you need is time (and not much). You can meditate in the middle of an open field by a babbling brook, on the New York City subway, or even sitting at your desk during the busiest part of your workday.
Meditation allows you to remove blocks from your past and focus your energy deeply on finding the source of stress you are experiencing in the present. It’s a focused attention to reality – and the things that matter most right now. Meditation is a means of manifesting your true desires and optimizing performance in every area of your life.
Main Principles of Meditation for Stress
Learning to meditate for stress isn’t as difficult or mysterious as you might think. It does not require a huge investment of time. It is simple, pure and can produce noticeable effects very quickly.
Although there are several types of meditation there are some key principles on which all forms are based. Meditative practices all include the ideas that:
- Stress isn’t always bad (read 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 versus unhealthy
Meditation is considered an alternative therapy that integrates a mind-body connection. Through various possible techniques, it produces deep states of calm and relaxation. When we meditate, our attention stays focused and we can eliminate distorted thoughts that often occur during times of extreme stress.
The purpose of meditation for stress reduction is not to: fully eliminate all sources of stress. Rather, it aims to help us understand, deal with, and overcome everyday stressors. Then we can focus and be ready to face the day with renewed, energetic vigor.