Using Meditation Practices to Transform Stress and Anxiety
1. If you are experiencing a situation in which you feel stress and/or anxiety and unpleasant feelings, ask yourself, how would I like the situation to be different? Write what you feel and what you would like to be different.
2. Notice any feelings of tension, watch the tension as if it is approaching from a distance (remember it’s not you), observe. Once it comes, accept it. Do not push it away, suppress it, get angry with yourself for having a response, that will only serve to make you feel more tense. Observe and allow yourself to experience the tension in your body.
3. Begin diaphragmatic breathing (expanding the belly when inhaling), slowly and deeply. As you change your breathing notice any feelings/sensations of relaxation. As your breathing changes notice does your thinking change too? Check your body for places of tension, back, neck, shoulders, belly, face, breathe into any place that feels tense and tell yourself with each breath which area relaxes (with this breath my neck relaxes).
4. Continue breathing and begin to notice your thinking. What are you telling yourself about the situation? Is there anything you can practically do to change the situation? If so, then do it; if not, then you must endeavor to accept it. Let yourself know that if you can do nothing to change the situation there is no point to dwelling on it in your mind.
5. To help with dwelling thoughts bring yourself back to your breath. Slow your breath and repeat your mantra (Sat Nam-True Self), allow the thoughts to come and go; place your attention on the observer of the thoughts, and then bring your attention back to your breath and your mantra.
6. When you feel finished with the meditation go back to your writing. What were you telling yourself about the situation? What did you want to be different? Is there anything that you practically could do about the situation? If so, what will you do? What was the meditation like? How do you feel now?