Mindfulness and Meditation: Techniques for Reducing Stress in Daily Life

We all go through stressful situations from time to time, from pet peeves like loud chewing to more serious concerns like grave illness and death.

Stress causes a buildup of hormones in the body, which makes your muscles tense, speeds up your breathing, and increases your heart rate. We all have an inborn reaction to dicey situations known as “stress response,” which helps us survive dangers like a fire or animal attack. While we rarely face many physical threats today, difficult everyday situations can trigger the stress response. 

We can’t avoid stress altogether, but there are several ways to manage it. These include mindfulness and meditation, and even winning big at 7Slots casino! Based on ancient wisdom and supported by science, regular mindfulness and meditation can be effective for managing your stress. Here are six powerful mindfulness and meditation techniques that can help. 

Deep Breathing

Research shows that the pace and depth of your breathing can affect your blood pressure and heart rate. You can practice the following breathing techniques involving slower, deeper breaths to induce relaxation and ease stress. 

  • Mindfulness of breathing. This is a deep breathing technique that makes you pay attention to the natural flow of your breath. To do this, sit quietly, shut your eyes, and focus on your breath as it goes into and out of your body. If your mind wanders, gently switch your attention back to your breath.
  • Diaphragmatic breathing. The key to this technique is to largely breathe into your diaphragm instead of breathing shallowly into your chest. To do this, place a hand against your belly and feel the resistance as you breathe in.
  • 4-7-8 breathing. This breathing technique involves breathing in four times, holding your breath seven times, and breathing out eight times.
  • Box breathing. This technique is also called ‘square breathing.’ To do it, breathe in four times, hold your breath four times, breathe out four times, and hold your breath again four times. 
  • Alternate nostril breathing. In this technique, you alternately inhale and exhale through one of your nostrils at a time. To do it, inhale and exhale while closing the opposite nostril with your forefinger. By balancing the right and left sides of your brain, alternate nostril breathing is thought to promote relaxation and stress relief.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness is a practice that’s gained massive popularity in recent times, making headlines and garnering support from psychologists, business executives, and celebrities alike. Mindfulness simply means switching your focus to the present instead of dwelling in the past or worrying about the future. This allows you to be engaged in the here and now. Meditations that promote mindfulness always help to ease anxiety, stress, depression, and other bad emotions. Some mindfulness meditations help you focus on the present by paying attention to one repetitive action like your breathing or repeated words. Other mindfulness meditation techniques encourage following and then releasing internal sensations and thoughts. You can also apply mindfulness to activities like eating, walking, or exercising.

Body Scan Meditation

In body scan meditation, you pay close attention to your different body parts. To do it, begin by focusing your attention on your feet and then working your way up. Instead of relaxing and tensing muscles, however, simply focus on how each body part feels without describing the sensations as ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ As you focus on how parts of your body feel, you’ll distract your mind from stress-inducing thoughts.

Meditative Movement

Meditative movement includes traditional Chinese practices like tai chi and qigong, in addition to some forms of dance and yoga. Meditative movement is a broad term for exercises that are performed alongside meditative attention to sensations in the body. While some activities, including drawing, walking, or running, aren’t considered types of meditation, they can cause a meditative state in some people. 

Repetitive Prayer

This practice involves repeating a short phrase or prayer while maintaining breath focus. If you’re into religion or spirituality, you may find this method particularly appealing.

Guided Imagery

In guided imagery, you picture calming experiences, places, or sceneries to help you focus and relax. There are free recordings of soothing scenes and apps available online – just make sure to pick imagery that means something to you and is soothing. Guided imagery can help you cultivate a positive outlook on yourself. However, it can be hard for people who have difficulty conjuring up mental images or those with intrusive thoughts. 

Choose a Technique That Will Suit You the Best

Effective stress relief requires the activation of the body’s natural relaxation response. Methods like deep breathing, mindfulness meditation, and guided imagery can put you into deep rest and ease stress, slow your heart rate and breathing, and lower your blood pressure. However, it’s vital to note that there’s no single mindfulness and meditation method that suits everyone because we are all different. This means you may need to go through some trial and error before finding a technique that suits you best.