If you are like most people today, you experience high levels of stress on a daily basis. Most of us know instinctively that this is not healthy, but have little time to learn – much less put into practice – effective stress-reducing techniques such as deep breathing, yoga or meditation. The sad irony is that those who have no time for these stress-reducing techniques are usually the ones who need them most. For those of us in this situation, there is a simple but powerful technique adapted from an ancient meditation practice that can help and should only take two minutes or less to perform;
1. Sit comfortably in a straight back chair, arms relaxed at your sides and hands in your lap.
2. Close your eyes and breathe in slowly and deeply into your belly.
3. Hold your breath as you tense all of your muscles for a count of 3.
4. Exhale slowly, letting all that tension out with your breath, completely relaxing every muscle in your body.
5. Now focus on one word; choose a simple, neutral word such as “one” or “calm”.
6. Breathe in again, slowly and deeply, into the belly. Allow your muscles to remain relaxed. Exhale, repeating your chosen word silently.
7. When stray thoughts drift into you mind, just return your focus to your one word, saying it slowly, calmly to yourself. The key to this whole meditation is maintaining this focus, gently drawing your attention back to this word.
8. Continue this process for 1-2 minutes.
9. Open your eyes. You are now ready to return to the world.
Does this process seem too simple to work? Scientists who have studied this type of meditation have actually recorded changes in brain-waves in those practicing it. Give it a try. All it takes is 2 minutes and can be done nearly anywhere at anytime. You may be pleasantly surprised at just how calm and relaxed it can make you feel.