Can Meditation Help with Stress?

Only the luckiest of us avoid stress. Almost everyone encounters mental strain at some point in our lives and it’s not fun to deal with, but can simple meditation help with stressful moments?

I think we can all agree that feeling stressed is a bit crap. Whether it’s due to family strains, exams or increasing pressure at work, we’ve all experienced stress in some form and, frustratingly, it can sometimes seem to make the whole situation an awful lot worse. Meditation is considered a great coping mechanism for stress and anxiety and is an excellent habit to include in your daily routine.

I’m currently going through a stressful time at work. Being shortstaffed, I’m being challenged by the amount we’re having to undertake and it’s tipping the scales on my work/life balance. What’s more, when I come home the last thing I want to do is work out, or journal, or even write my blog, so the activities that have previously brought me joy are becoming an extra chore. I’ve no doubt my job situation will improve in the coming weeks or months, though in the meantime I need to look after myself in any way I can. My strategy is that by meditating first thing after work, I can create a division between the stressful part of my day and the fun part, helping me enjoy my free time again.

Meditation is the process of clearing your mind to achieve a moment of peace and clarity. At its root, you’re taking ten minutes out of your day to spend by yourself without doing tasks or favours for other people. Giving yourself the chance to explore your own mind can also improve your self awareness and, in turn, can increase confidence levels as you prove to yourself that your comfortable in your own company (even if only for a few minutes a day).

You may also use your meditation time to think quietly about problem or puzzle that has been bothering you. Though many would argue meditation is a time to empty your mind completely, if thoughts naturally drift in and out of your mind you shouldn’t aim to fight them too much. Allowing yourself to subconsciously choose what to think about each day could bring you some much needed inspiration that you wouldn’t otherwise encounter.

Previously I’ve used the meditation app Headspace, which guided me through daily ten minute meditation settings.  The app was developed by a former monk who, if I remember rightly, has an extremely calming voice which sent me to sleep on a few occasions! This time around, I may take advantage of the free basics course in order to ease myself into the swing of things, and perhaps this time round I will have more use for the wider Headspace library.

Over the next month I will be giving regular meditation a try, to see if it can bring some peace to my day. Along with my daily cup of tea (or twelve…) I hope to turn this into an easy habit to maintain and, in turn, force myself into some much needed mental reflection!