These two meditation techniques are designed to help you feel more relaxed and more calm. Try them the next time you feel stressed.
1. Interactive imagery
This 20 to 30 minute technique resembles guided imagery, but instead of summoning a specific image, you allow images to come spontaneously, accessing the unconscious by talking about the images and what they mean to you. Here’s how to do it.
- Begin with progressive relaxation, starting from your toes, clenching, then relaxing each muscle group or body part until you reach your head.
- Breathe in, imagining you are inhaling healthy nutrients and wholesome air. Hold for six to eight seconds. Breathe out, imagining all the toxins leaving your body.
- Count backward slowly from 10.
- Visualize a stream. Use all your senses to see, feel, smell, and taste the surroundings.
- Walk down a path and, at the end, see an image that may represent your pain, your anger. Talk to the image about what you’re thinking and feeling. Don’t worry if you don’t understand the images that come to mind.
2. Mindfulness meditation
This technique involves what psychologists call moment-to-moment nonjudgmental awareness. You sit quietly, focusing on your breathing, and allow your thoughts to flow through you without reacting to them. This is not focusing on your pain but letting go of the struggle over its presence. One variation is a walking meditation: Find a three to six metre (10 to 20 foot) path you can walk on. Stand, allowing yourself to tune in to your body, and its tensions. As you begin walking, repeat the words lifting, shifting, planting. Focus on the shift of your body as you move through each step. The point is to let go of expectation. It’s about noticing whatever happens, to attend to the process of walking. You allow what happens to pass through you instead of being buffeted by it.
These methods may take some time to master but once you get the hang of it you will find it easier to find peace.