Take a deep breath through your nose and let the tension drain out of your body. This is how you start a simple meditation. The benefits are many. Those who meditate have less anxiety, greater creativity, lower blood pressure, and higher blood oxygen levels. This is what the scientific research shows. There are also the less-measurable effects, such as greater peace of mind and clarity of thought.
Of course, you may have a hard time releasing that stress from your muscles, especially those around your face and shoulders. One way to deal with that is by training your relaxation response. To do this, you just have to tense up all your muscles, one group at a time, and then release that tension. Start with your feet and work your way up your body.
By doing this simple exercise you learn what it feels like to relax a muscle. Practice a bit and youll soon be able to let loose and relax without the need to first tense up. You train yourself in the art of physical relaxation.
A deep breath should be released with the tension each time you do this. Then your mind will come to associate the relaxation response with your deep exhalation. Soon youll notice that when you take a deep breath and let it all flow out, your muscles will relax automatically.
Once you have established this response, you can make it a point to stop for a deep breath or two several times throughout your day. You might find that you can think more clearly after doing so. In any case, you will likely have less anxiety and fewer physical manifestations of stress, such as headaches, tiredness, and back problems.
When you develop a deeper meditative practice, the state of mind that goes along with it will also be associated with breathing deeply. This can make that occasional deep breath during the day even more meaningful. You might find that you can not only relax your body, but you can also allow your mind to quiet a bit whenever it gets too full of worries or negativity.
If you have trouble with the usual methods used for meditation, a great alternative is to use a brainwave entrainment product. With these CDs and MP3 recordings, all you have to do to get into a meditative state is put on the headphones and listen. They make meditation easy, but you should still learn to consciously relax and breath deeply through your nose, so that you can relax your mind and body when you choose to during the day.
Whether you use meditation CDs or traditional methods, try to stick with a routine for at least several weeks. Mornings work well for most people. If time is a problem, get up fifteen minutes early to meditate. The loss of that bit of sleep may not be noticed, since with regular meditation youre likely to get higher-quality sleep. Once youve established a regular routine, youll probably want to continue, but even if you dont, you will have trained yourself how to take a deep breath and relax, something you can use throughout your busy day – and life.