perjantai 14. lokakuuta 2011

Stress releaving meditation

I'm a huge stresser myself. Actually, I'm the queen of "I should". There is no better way of making me feel all stressed out than my own thoughts going aroung, telling me what I ought to do: "I should wash the dishes" "I should clean up" "I should be studying" "I should already have studied so much more, the test is coming next week". So basically, I should do this and I should do that instead of whatever I'm doing (which normally is "nothing at all"). I end up being so stressed up I finally manage to do nothing at all. I know it's just the way of my head going and talking to my friends, I'm obviously not the only one suffering from this. But there's a cure for this cancer!

Meditation. I'm not a huge fan of following different "schools" when it comes to these kinds of mental things. I know a lot of people find their peace while doing yoga, cleaning up the house or going to the church. I think part of the traditional "holy experience" is just the fact when going to church, you slow down and just let your mind set. There's some much information and courses about so-called "mindfullness" around at the moment and there are so many methods taught (sometimes with a hefty pricetag on them). But I think basically anything will do to get the same effect, as long as it's something simple enough and something you have to focus on. For me the normal tricks are, well, clearing the fridge (yeah, it's tad strange, I admit) and going to pick mushrooms.

Here's the result from this friday morning's "mindfullness". 2,5kg in total, I'm never going to finish these...

Instead of telling everyone to go to pick some mushrooms (which I do recommend though), I want to share some easy methods of relaxing which I regularly use.

Pick the room for this exercise where the temperature is warm enough so you don't feel like freezing while staying still. If the floor is cold, feel free to put some kind of matt, a towel or a yoga matt underneath you (but nothing too comfy though, the point is not to feel like lying on a bed). If you feel chilly, you can use a blanket to cover you. Make sure the clothes you wear are somewhat comfortable on you.

Lay down on the floor, facing up. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath once and after that, just inhale an exhale normally.

Now there are a couple of options how to make your body and mind settle.

1. Think that you're breathing through your whole body. Every part in it takes part in the breathing. You can start it from the toes up by imagining how every time you inhale and exhale, the toes are doing it too. You can also try to intentionally relax your toes every time you exhale. Then, moving up from the toes, go through your whole body ending up on the top of your head. When getting there, you can imagine the whole body at once, inhaling and exhaling and every time you inhale, the top of your head moved further away from the tips of your toes.

2. A variation of the previous, which can be done also after it. Start with imagining the head moving away from the toes while inhaling. Do the same imagination with the tailbone and head. Then move on to thinking how your limbs are spread out in a shape of a giant starfish (or a star, if you find starfish gross :D). Every time you inhale, think of all your limbs moving away from the middle where you're lungs are and relaxing again towards the centre with exhaling. Like a pulsating star. If this feels hard to do at once, you may also start with just the legs or the arms separately first.

3. Another trick to relax your body is to think about the floor you're lying on. Feel the points of your body that are touching the ground. Let all you weight fall on these points and let the floor bear you. You can go even further and imagine the ground underneath the floor and eventually, imagine the whole Earth supporting you instead of your mussels doing it.

4. If you have trouble to let your mind go and you still have all the thoughs in your head flying in circles, I recommend imagining them actually flying. Let go yf them and think of them outside of your body (you will have all the time in the world after relaxing to think about them again). Every time a thought pops up in your head, you can think of it as a balloon you release from your lap to the skyes to fly. Or the thoughts being clouds, just hoovering around in the sky above you. The point is, don't get stuck on any thought, just BE there. Doing all the previous exercises helps you to think of the present instead of the "actual" thoughts.

You can do these exercise just to wind up after stressful day (or in the middle of it) or use them as a "warm up" for some deep streching or light yoga. I do have to warn you that they might work too well: I've found myself more than once sleeping on the floor... Talking about power nap there! I always feel superrelaxed after doing this and also more happy with myself, my life and the world in general. It kinda puts your stress into the right perspective.

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