Coping with stress may seem nearly impossible during tough times, but there’s something that can help you out just a little: meditation. We all want to maintain our regular healthy routines, but sometimes that just isn’t possible. So instead of putting pressure on yourself, stop, take a breath. Find little moments throughout the day to give yourself some self-love with an easy and quick meditation.
Meditation is a great tool for staying calm in times of stress because it can be done almost anywhere and anytime. You also do not need to have any prior knowledge or experience to get started.
Here are 5 easy meditations to help you deal with stress.
COFFEE ROW MEDITATION
If there’s one place where it’s easy to succumb to anger and stress, it might be to wait in line. Instead, turn boring waiting into quick meditation, as Suze Yalof Schwartz writes in her book Unplug.
Time: Until it’s your turn
APPLICATION: When in line, start by looking at your feet and noticing how they feel on the ground. Let them really connect to the ground below you. Then, as the turn moves, very slowly lift one foot and place it on the floor in front of you, heel first. Continue with the other foot in the same slow motion. As you do this, pay attention to how your body moves, how your ankle allows your foot to rotate, how your legs work with your feet.
Continue in slow motion without rushing until you reach the barista. There you look into your barista’s eyes and smile at them, then place your order. Nine out of 10 times will smile; a smile always goes a long way. After placing your order, proceed slowly and carefully to wait for your coffee. When it’s your turn, grab your coffee and feel the warmth of the cup, bring it to your face and inhale its scent. Then take a slow sip and let the taste circulate in your mouth. Your coffee wait turned into an easy reset.
16 SECONDS RELAXING MEDITATION
Feeling like you don’t have time to mediate? You don’t actually need 20 minutes, 10 minutes or even a minute. Instead, try this 16-second meditation whenever you feel stressed, overwhelmed, or anxious. This meditation from renowned spiritual teacher Davidji is perfect for escaping a high-stress situation and giving yourself a moment to relax.
Duration: 16 seconds
APPLICATION: To begin, think of something that is upsetting and troubling you at this time. Our disaster, you were late for work, lost your wallet, or had a fight with your mother (whatever comes to mind!). Once determined, close your eyes and take a deep breath through your nose. Notice how the breath moves up to your belly. Let it sit there for a moment before exhaling your breath back out of your body and through your nose. Once again, notice that you are breathing in and out. You can now return to your normal breathing. It was only 16 seconds!
For those 16 seconds, you weren’t thinking about the past or the future, you were just living in the moment. You probably weren’t thinking about what was upsetting you at that moment. You were completely there.
While some of us get road rage in traffic, some of us feel triggered by anything. Suze Yalof Schwartz created this ingenious meditation for those moments when you feel uneasy sitting in traffic. Pro tip: While this meditation was originally designed for car journeys, it’s also great for delayed flights. Think of this meditation as an excellent stress reliever for things that are out of your control.
Duration: 1-3 minutes
APPLICATION: The first step is awareness. Start by looking at the road and the cars in front of you. Record your surroundings and how you feel. Maybe there is no movement or you are late, you are stressed, bored or you want to shout. No matter how you feel, be aware of everything. The next step is to perform a body scan. Start with your feet and feel every limb; then look at your ankles, legs and stomach. Continue until you have registered every part of your body, all the way to the top of your head. The final step is to connect with your breath. Start by breathing in through your nose in four steps, let the breath descend into your stomach, hold it there for four seconds, and then exhale in four steps. Repeat this breath several times until you feel your body relax. Now open your eyes and repeat the phrase “whatever it is” three times. Even if the traffic is still there, I hope your excitement has passed.
Practicing gratitude is always important, but it can be quite easy to lose perspective during times of stress. This gratitude meditation by Deepak Chopra will bring you back to your awareness.
Duration: 3-5 minutes
APPLICATION: Start by finding a quiet place to be alone (even your car or bathroom will do). To begin, close your eyes and take a slow, deep breath from your nose to your stomach. Hold it there for a moment before removing it from your mouth. Pause and continue to breathe a few more times until you feel more connected and centered. Now focus on your heart, feel its beating and even place your hands on it if you wish. Ask yourself the question: “What are you grateful for?” Let whatever comes to your mind. Let your mind fill with images, words or people that capture it. Now say to yourself, “Whatever happens today, I will not judge.” Repeat the phrase several times. To finish, wiggle your hands and feet slowly, open your eyes and return to your body.
ATTENTION EATING MEDITATION
When we want to enjoy food when we are stressed, we feel guilty or don’t even want to see the food. This meditation by Amanda Gilbert is here to help with your stress while eating.
Duration: 1-5 minutes
APPLICATION: Start by taking a few breaths to center and connect with your body before you begin. This meditation is to be done with food, so when you’re ready take a moment to look at the food in front of you. Understand colors, smells and shapes. Now before you start eating, ask yourself how you are feeling right now. Are you really hungry? Moderately hungry? Once you understand, take your first bite and let the flavors explode in your mouth, chew slowly and take your time before swallowing. How do you feel now? Are you less hungry? Did you enjoy the first bite? Keep repeating this practice as you take your next bite. Really save every piece of food; Remember to eat slowly and carefully. After you take your last bite, sit down for a moment and appreciate the food that fills you.