4 Ways to Breathe More and Stress Less
by Hilton Head Health Intern Kelsey Camien
While life can be demanding, there are techniques to overcome your daily stresses. Meditation is a great way to help alleviate stress in less time than you would think. In just 10-15 minutes a day, you can have a fulfilling meditation practice with these 4 tips:
Create a routine.
Practice in the same spot every time. This will help condition your mind to move into your meditation practice faster. If it’s possible, choose a location where you only meditate: maybe a chair outside or lying on a mat. It’s best to find a quiet, comfortable place without clutter and distractions.
Meditate at the same time daily, this will help solidify the practice. Some like to meditate upon waking up to help center themselves for the day, others choose right before bed to unwind. You can also try a mid-day meditation to help relax yourself right before or after a stressful moment.
Creating this pattern will become a value in your life, a habit you won’t want to break.
Connect to your breath.
Connecting to your breath is a key component while meditating. Using a mantra, which is a sound, word, or phrase, can be an aid in doing so. There are countless mantras, so choose what resonates best with you. Some like to count the breath: 1-2-3-4 on the inhale and 1-2-3-4 on the exhale. You can also use phrases such as “I am peace” or “I am.” Examples in practice: inhale “I am” exhale “peace” or inhale “I” exhale “am.”
Be passive, not active.
While meditation does take some practice, it shouldn’t be something you stress about; that is what you’re trying to relieve! When you begin your meditation, give yourself permission to let go of all the stress, worries, and tension you may be holding onto. Set a timer with a gentle chime and tell yourself that this is your time of day when all the cares of the world seem far away. The timer will eventually sound and life will be right where you left off.
Sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Set an intention not to move during your practice. You may notice that more activity is happening inside of you now that you are still on the outside. With commitment, your physical stillness will lead to emotional and mental stillness. Over time, this will become habitual. Every time you sit still, your inner frenzy will turn into a calm and peaceful state of mind.