Meditation to relieve stress
Anyone, anywhere can use meditation to relieve stress. It can be especially powerful during the breast cancer journey. Here we offer tips for beginners.
Alice McCall is an author, counsellor and transformational energy healer. Here she shares some advice on meditation to relieve stress. You can learn more about her at www.healingpath.info
We have all experienced the physical symptoms of stress, such as sweaty palms, a racing heart, uneasy breathing, or a knotted stomach. But when stress becomes chronic, people begin to have physical symptoms that go beyond mild headaches. Ongoing exposure to stress can contribute to conditions like depression, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, ulcers, sexual dysfunction, hyperthyroidism and cancer.
When you’re undergoing treatment for breast cancer, it’s difficult to avoid stress altogether. The shock of diagnosis, the fear of the unknown and the challenges of getting through treatment are bound to affect you. The good news, though, is that stress is preventable and manageable, and you can use meditation to relieve it.
One of the best tools to reduce stress is meditation and it’s something anyone can do. All it takes is a commitment to engage in this self-healing activity on a regular basis. Spending just 15-20 minutes in meditation each day can have a huge impact on your immune system, attitude, morale, concentration and calm centre. Meditation not only has this wonderful physical, emotional and mental impact, but it also allows an opening for a stronger spiritual connection.
Tools for Meditation
One of the biggest contributors to stress is our own worries, doubting thoughts and fears. Have you ever listened to the tone of your mind’s chatter? If your self-talk is not positive and affirming, it can trigger a stress response from your body.
Meditation can help you silence your mind. The practice of focusing completely on your breathing during meditation takes your focus away from any ‘mind clutter’ and helps to eliminate unwanted emotions. This naturally leads to a state of increased calmness that is beneficial to you and your body. Most people report feeling renewed after a meditation, saying it helps them feel peaceful, serene, calm and inspired.
You might feel that you’re too busy to make time in your day for meditation. But when you create this special time for yourself, rather than placing stress on your ‘to do’ list, it gives you the focus and positive energy to excel in your other obligations.
If you have not meditated before, it’s comforting to know that there is no right or wrong way. Each meditation will relieve some stress, and each is a one-of-kind experience. Everyone deserves this kind of personal attention.
In my work as a cellular-level healing consultant, I regularly hear from clients, “I’ve tried to meditate, but I cannot stop my mind. It just continues to race.” In my meditations I use guided imagery, breath work and vocal toning to help clients release stress and find a place of balance within. Here are a few beginners’ tips if you’d like to try meditation for yourself:
- Sit or lie down comfortably.
- Close your eyes. It may feel uncomfortable. Stay with it, and don’t judge yourself for feeling that way.
- Breathe naturally.
- Focus your attention on the breath and on how the body moves each time you inhale and exhale. Observe your chest, shoulders and belly. Just keep your attention on your breath without changing its pace or intensity.
- If your mind wanders, return focus back to your breath.
- Start slow and practise: do your meditation for two to three minutes the first few times (set a timer with a soft chime to end), and then gradually try to extend your meditation time.
- You may also enjoy online guided meditations available on YouTube and other channels.
If you’re interested in meditation to relieve stress, you might also want to read our article about mindfulness.