Meditation doesn’t have to be as mysterious, time consuming, or as impossible as it sometimes seems to be. Here’s a practical meditation for beginners that’s accessible and capable of calming you down in times of stress; it only takes 16 seconds. Beginners and long-time practitioners alike can benefit from the soothing balm of this meditation.
“Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.” – Etty Hillesum
Less Stress, Please
Our DNA is wired to protect us from real threat: our breathing becomes shallow, our growth and sex hormones are suppressed, we perspire, and our senses are on high alert for any perceived danger. While helpful and lifesaving in dire situations, prolonged stress isn’t so good for us.
Directing these responses inwards can cause problems such as ulcers; directing stress outwards can cause anger, blaming, etc.
In fact, the American Stress Institute states that 75-90% of all doctor visits are stress-related.
When our needs are not met, we feel stress. We may not receive the level of attention, affection, thanks, safety, understanding, or pleasure that we expect. The disappointment that results from these unmet expectations hinders our ability to live a truly happy and fulfilling life.
When we move through life anxious, depressed, and stressed, with emotional toxicity flooding our system, we are not our best selves.
There’s still an inescapable opportunity that arises in each and every unmet expectation: You have this chance to choose differently.
You’re equipped with the miraculous capacity to experience your experiences in such a way that peace replaces stress, joy replaces disappointment, love replaces fear, and appreciation replaces condemnation. I’m not saying it’s easy, I’m just saying it’s worth trying.
The first step in stressing less is believing in the opportunity that greets you on a moment-to-moment basis.
A Short Meditation for Beginners
This meditation is inspired by davidji, internationally renowned meditation teacher, author, and speaker. When you start to notice your stress response kicking in, practice the following exercise to help you calm down and sink into the present moment.
- Think of something or someone that has been causing you stress or consuming your thoughts.
- Close your eyes.
- Take a long, slow deep breath in.
- Visualize it coming in and through your mouth, down your throat, and filling your stomach. Watch it there. Really feel it.
- Hold your breath for four seconds. Feel the stillness of the space in between.
- Breath out and visualize it coming back up and out your nose.
- Watch it dissipate into the air and dissolve into the ether.
This meditation for beginners may indeed sound too simple in written form. Remember that solutions needn’t be complicated; in fact, it’s best if they’re not.
When sincerely and genuinely put into action, this meditation may stir up some resistance inside. It can be challenging to come face-to-face with your stress, but believe in the opportunity it gives you. The challenge is to recognize your stress first, and the opportunity is to move beyond it.
Read through the above steps slowly, and practice each step individually until you can move through the entire meditation authentically. Keep practicing. Keep breathing. Keep having faith that there is a part of you that cannot be touched by the stresses in life.
Rewire Your Brain
Every 1.2 seconds, we experience a thought. This equates to roughly 60,000-80,000 thoughts every day. If you interrupt this pattern with brief periods of slow, deep breathing, and the calm that comes in between two deep breaths, you can change the structure of your brain and positively alter your emotional landscape.
None of us are alone in the stress we experience in this world, yet through our appreciation and reverence for the present moment, we can take a new stance.
We can stand for peace instead of stress, and the way can be through meditation. We can contemplate what we’re grateful for rather than what we don’t have, and our lives will dive deeper into a state of abundance.
We CAN focus on positive seeds and plant them in the present moment, instead of waiting for things to change while we’re lost in the future and trapped in the past.
The secret to change is within you.
- Are you willing to try this meditation?
- Is there another meditation or mindfulness practice that you use to reduce stress and increase happiness?
Please share your thoughts, lessons, practices, and experiences with me in the comments.
Share this meditation for beginners with anyone who could use more peace today.
Keep your faith in the inner light that’s always within–that’s peace.
Free wreath graphic by We Lived Happily Ever After; lettering by Aim Happy.