Welcome to the ever-changing world, where every being run helter-skelter to catch up with the modern technology, yet problems abound. Every day, we face different challenges ranging from financial, career, family and relationships to mention but a few. Certainly, all these factors affect our nature, thereby hindering our outputs after all struggles.
But, if I may ask, how do we get from this place of stress and anxiety, to connect with that place of peace and power within? How do we restore balance and reclaim our inborn life force to live freely and fully?
Then, How Do I Proffer Solutions?
Yes, for individuals suffering from physical, mental, depression or emotional stress, relaxation meditation opens the door to the solution of such problem. As a result, relaxation and meditation work hand-in-hand.
Certainly, meditation is relaxing. However, on the other hand relaxing is not meditation. But, the article in a very concise manner detailed its importance, techniques, differences, beginners’ questions and benefits attached to achieving the best form of relaxation meditation exercise.
However, What Is Relaxation?
Simply, relaxation is an act of relaxing and shaking off tensions. In addition, people use relaxation to release all manner of stress that has been building up in the body.
What Is Meditation?
Meditation is a devotional exercise of letting go of everyday worries and literally “live in the moment”. On the other hand, those who meditate often enjoy improved health, reduced anxiety and greater satisfaction of life.
Difference between Relaxation and Meditation
We often think that watching TV, sitting down with Hennessy or a good book, or simply sleeping out is relaxing. But actually, relaxation is a cultivated and practiced act. Such is defined by the enjoyment attached to relaxation response.
By the process of relaxation, we tend to free lots of stress and fatigue which end up harming the physical and emotional part of the body. Moreover, through this activity, a positive impact is achieved which end up spurring human to greater heights.
Also, during relaxation exercises, the nervous system is given the opportunity to relax. This enables the maintenance of health and so as to be able to calm down human stress.
On the hand, meditation is a form of mind training, which operates on the fundamental basis of the mind in determining the quality of life.
Therein, Meditation is generally presented in three broad categories of mind training.
- Mindfulness, and
Furthermore, Meditation is about making friends with yourself, learning to see what is just as it is, and freeing yourself from unnecessary conditions. However, this is achieved by psychological scrutinizing of oneself through deeply spiritual and religious orientation.
Simply put, relaxation and meditation are two inevitable tools for a peaceful mind.
Types Of Relaxation Meditation
The following are some of the best-known ways to meditate:
Loving-kindness meditation is also known as Metta meditation. It aims at cultivating an attitude of love and kindness toward everything, even a person’s enemies and sources of stress.
During this process, practitioners open their minds to receiving loving kindness. They then send messages of loving kindness to the world, to specific people, or to their loved ones.
Is There Any Key To Achieving This Feat?
Particularly, the key is to repeat the exercise many times, until there is a feeling of loving kindness.
This type of meditation exercise aims to promote peaceful existence among people who are affected by:
- Anger and
- Interpersonal conflict
Progressive Relaxation Or Body Scan
Progressive relaxation can also be called body scan meditation. On the same note, it is a meditation that encourages people to scan their bodies for areas of tension. The goal is to notice tension and to allow it to release.
During a progressive relaxation session, practitioners start at one end of their body, usually their feet, and work through the whole part of the body.
Basically, Progressive relaxation can help to promote generalized feelings of calmness and relaxation. It may also help with chronic pain, because it slowly and steadily relaxes the body. Most importantly, some people use this form of relaxation meditation to help them sleep.
Mindfulness is a form of meditation that ensures practitioners to remain aware and present at the moment.
Rather than dwelling on the past, mindfulness meditation encourages awareness of a person’s existing surroundings. Also, mindfulness meditation is something people can do almost anywhere. While waiting in line at the grocery store, for example, a person might calmly notice their surroundings, including the sights, sounds, and smells they experience.
Research has found that mindfulness can:
- Reduce fixation on negative emotions
- Improve focus
- Enhance memory and
- Improve relationship satisfaction
Also, evidence suggests that this exercise improves health. According to a study of African-American men with chronic kidney disease, it is found that mindfulness meditation could lower high blood pressure (HBP).
Breath Awareness Meditation
Breath awareness is a type of relaxation meditation that encourages mindful breathing. Thus, practitioners breathe slowly and deeply, counting their breaths or otherwise focusing on their breaths. Most importantly, the goal is to focus only on breathing and to ignore other thoughts that enter the mind.
As a form of mindfulness meditation, breath awareness offers many of the same benefits as mindfulness. Those include reduced anxiety, improved concentration, and greater emotional flexibility.
Kundalini yoga is a physically active form of meditation that balances movements with deep breathing. People often learn from a teacher or do a class. However, someone can also learn the poses at home.
Similar to other forms of yoga, kundalini yoga can improve physical strength and reduce pain. It may also improve mental health by reducing anxiety and depression.
According to research, a 2008 study of veterans with chronic low-back pain, for instance, found that yoga reduced pain, increased energy, and improved overall mental health of individuals.
Zen meditation, sometimes called Zazen is a form of meditation that can be part of Buddhist practice. Many Zen practitioners study under a teacher because this nature of meditation involves specific steps and postures.
The goal is simple, find a comfortable position, focus on breathing, and mindfully observe your thoughts without judgment.
Probably, this form of meditation is similar to mindfulness meditation but requires more discipline and practice. People may prefer it if they are seeking a new spiritual path.
Transcendental Meditation is a spiritual form of meditation where practitioners remain seated and breathe slowly. The goal is to transcend or rise above the person’s current state of being.
Factors That Influence The Effectiveness Of Relaxation Meditation
Combining relaxation and meditation techniques can give meditators the best of both worlds.
However, setting the scene for relaxation and meditation can be pretty easy but before embarking on your relaxation meditation journey, it is helpful to give a few factors some due consideration.
Choosing a place that is as calm as possible and where there is not too much light. That is to say, dim is best. Candlelight provide soothing, pleasant light, night lights and salt lamps are also good choices. You can mute your cell phone and leave it out of reach. The same goes for notifications that tell you a new email or text requires your attention. Consequently, all of this busyness and the demands keep stress at a peak – set them aside for some real relaxation.
One of the most vital aspects is the nature of the food you consume. The lighter it is, the faster your brain metabolism reacts. Heavy food substances can bring about dullness and dizziness to the body.
One should better fast to meditate, rather than feed enough to sleep off upon starting. As a result, a cup of coffee is good for a start.
Sit in the posture that is most comfortable for you but not too much to avoid dozing off. If you easily get tired quickly after sitting flat on a mat, try a cushion, a chair or even a comfy sofa. You can lie down if it is more relaxing for you. Note that your posture affects the quality of your meditation. Therefore, it is difficult to concentrate for even five minutes if your limbs are aching. But, it is also difficult to remain focused if your back is not straight and your body lacks balance. If convenient, you might do some yoga or stretching before or after your practice to help keep your body flexible, agile and active
Time Of Day
Some people would rather do their body relaxation meditation exercises in the morning or night while others prefer late evenings. However, It is important to pick a time when your mind is alert. For this reason, many people find that morning is the best moment for meditation.
Also, another consideration is the time you are able to set aside for your session. Make sure you do not overestimate your ability to remain focused and relaxed. Lest, the minutes will drag on and it will be impossible to relax!
If you would like a change of scenery, walking meditation will activate your senses and give your relaxation meditation some pep.
The atmospheric condition of the weather is another underlying factor that affects the brain work. Some person may require warm weather to ensure proper relaxation mediation while others prefer the opposite.
Thus, according to research, the best form of weather is the cold type, which tends to accelerate the speed of brain assimilation during meditation.
Techniques For Easy Relaxation Meditation Exercise
Would you like to know the best techniques for relaxation meditation? Here is one that many people find helpful.
Begin By Breathing Deeply: Just pay attention to the process. Take a deep breath, feel it in your belly, then expel it gently, and release tension as you exhale. Try to get rid of all that stale air. Then breathe in deeply again. Most importantly, pay attention to the sensation of breathing. Allow it to relax you.
Body Attention: Once your breath is flowing comfortably and you are beginning to feel relaxed, turn your attention to your body. Begin with your feet. Is there any tension there? If so, you can invite it to dissolve. You might even compress the muscles of your toes and feet in order to let go more completely. As a result, notice the sensation of letting go and relaxing.
Other Parts Of The Body: In the same way, progressively, bring your attention to your buttocks and back, then your hands and arms, your belly, diaphragm, chest, shoulders, neck, jaws, and face. Paying focused and benevolent attention to each part of the body as you try to relax them. Also, note any tension, reinforce it if you like, then relax and release.
Once you have gone through the whole body, take note of how you feel. When you are ready, come back to your usual self, bit by bit, with awareness and benevolence. Move, stretch, wiggle and jiggle.
Open-Mindedness: What defines this exercise as meditation and not just relaxation is the awareness involved in performing each step with an open mind, and an absence of judgment. Therefore, be rest assured that you would not be graded on how well you relax, but how far your thoughts were able to achieve your goals
Powerful Benefits Of Relaxation And Meditation
With the aforementioned techniques, meditation and deep relaxation have a number of amazing effects on your body and hormones which can fall in two categories. Thus:
- Hormonal and Cellular Effects.
- The Area of Power over Oneself.
What Are The Hormonal And Cellular Benefits?
- Meditation helps relax the adrenal gland and allow them to rest, relieving them from over-producing cortisol (a stress hormone) which has a devastating effect on your thyroid function resulting to loss of weight.
- Relaxation meditation takes your endocrine system out of a state of high alert. As a result, Hormonal secretion becomes regulated and all your hormonal systems e.g. thyroid, adrenals, sex hormones etc. — have an opportunity to come back into balance and restore your soul to its abode.
- Also, meditation and relaxation allow your body to truly rests. And, that is when you restore balance and renew vitality throughout your entire body.
- In the aspect of sleep, it improves the quality of your sleep as it controls the endless conversation of your mind.
- The exercise alkalizes your system. That is to say, it balances out acidity that has accumulated through the over activity of your analytical mind and the fear-based thinking that generates stress hormones.
- Meditation helps decrease inflammation at the cellular level neutralizing acidosis and minimizing pain.
In The Area Of Power Over Oneself
By being in a meditative state, one’s mind becomes still, clear and reflective. Fear and anxiety, the two major causes of stress, subside. And, Your heart rate slows down as your blood pressure regulates itself into the “normal range.” Therefore, you feel calm and more confident, in touch with your own strength and power. Consequently, that awful feeling of being vulnerable or overwhelmed subsides.
Psychologically, you feel more self-assured and in control of yourself again. That is to say, your mind-body-spirit connection is now aligned and you experience that peace of mind and sense of well-being.
With Consistent Practice, Relaxation Meditation Helps In The Following Ways:
- Alleviates anxiety, depression, and negative attitudes
- Reduces fatigue and exhaustion
- Puts you in touch with your confidence, joy, enthusiasm, and self-worth
- Improves brain function and actually lights up your mind
- Brings you back to being heart centered and lovable
Beginners May Often Ask?
How Long Can One Meditate?
For persons starting out, I recommend you meditate from 5 to 10 minutes every day. You can even start with less, maybe try it for just a minute in the morning. And, you can still sit and relax for long, then move to 2 minutes. With this practice, you can adjust to longer a time that suits you.
The rule is simple, start small and adjust big.
Is It Bad To Meditate At Night?
Basically, there is no wrong time to meditate. Reasons, why people get discouragement for meditating at night, are simply the likelihood of falling asleep. Hence, if you wish to achieve the best form of relaxation meditation, I advise you do it first thing in the morning so as to set your day to the best of it. However, if there is any reason why you feel like night time is best for you, then do not feel limited.
What Is The Best Time For One To Meditate?
Generally, before or after breakfast is the best time to meditate. But for beginners, it can be discouraging. But practice makes perfect.
Which Technique Can Beginners Use To Adjust To Longer Meditation Duration?
For beginners, it can be discouraging, but I suggest you put your attention on slower and deep breathing at least for five minutes.
In a nutshell, the article has detailed the nitty-gritty of guided relaxation meditation which will help you to train your brain to slow down, enjoy life, and accept yourself.
So, take back your power and get control over yourself and your life. It is the most important investment you can make in yourself.
If you are just starting to meditate or you need some help progressing to the next level, that is what I have briefly stated for you.
Go and soar!