What do people who meditate know about stress?

For the frazzled, frantic and frankly fed up

You find it impossible to avoid stress these days. Anyone of a certain age, will remember a much simpler time, when things just didn't seem as stressful. Yes, I can remember having to just trust that once you’d left home, the person that you arranged to meet would turn up!

You know that social media is a cause of a lot of it but you can’t help getting drawn in and there are more pressures in life than ever. And even if you don’t engage online there are still plenty of other things put on your path that can start your heart racing and your palms sweating.

You see some people that you might work with or friends or family that just don't seem to worry about anything. You wonder how on earth do they manage it. Whatever happens they just seem so chilled. How do they do that? The truth is that they might not meditate, but they probably have a perspective on life that keeps them cool as a cucumber. I am going to share with you some of the ways in which you can do this too. First of all I want to tell you about what stress is.

What is stress

Stress is the body’s way of responding to any kind of stress or demand. Your body is flooded with hormones that prepare you for conflict or danger. This is known as the ‘fight or flight’ response. You will recognise this as the reaction when someone cuts you up whilst driving or somebody makes you jump. When you know the danger has passed then you will start to calm down. Small amounts of stress can be good for you as your body’s way of getting you through a tough situation.

What can you do to relieve stress?

  1. Talking to someone, friends family, colleagues or a helpline if necessary will help you see a different perspective.

  2. Think about the positives in your life, try thinking of 3 things that you are grateful for.

  3. Gentle exercise can help relieve stress symptoms and walking in nature is particularly good for reducing cortisol levels, which are increased when you are stressed.

  4. Find fun things to do, something that will make you laugh, dancing, watching a comedy or a giggle with friends.

  5. Meditation and mindfulness practised regularly can help to regulate the hormones and over time will reduce your reaction to stress and enable you to return to a relaxed state quicker.

  6. Avoiding stimulants such as alcohol and caffeine as they have a negative effect on stress symptoms.

What do people who meditate know about stress?

Meditation and mindfulness can help put things in perspective and help you to cope with difficult situations. It helps you to quieten your mind and notice your thoughts, which is helpful if they are negative.

Meditation gives you that opportunity to notice what is going on in your mind and your body and respond accordingly. Thinking more positively, taking a mindful break and choosing how you react. It puts you back in control. You no longer sweat the small stuff and life seems calmer and things seem to go your way. What’s not to love! You could be that person.

Suggested meditations for stress

Guided meditations and visualisations can help to distract you from what is causing you stress and relieve the physical symptoms. Imagining yourself on a tropical island or in a secret garden, will help improve things.

Loving kindness meditation elicits feelings of kindness towards yourself and others, which in turn helps you to manage stress

Music meditation Listening to some relaxing music or your favourite songs using the music to help you relax and use the music as a focal point.

Walking meditation Deliberately slowing down your pace of walking and focusing on your feet and the sensation as each foot touches the floor. If you were to walk barefoot on grass or sand this would have the additional benefit of grounding you to the earth.

Check out 17 ways to use meditation for anxiety and stress

The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another
— William James