How to Maximize Meditation to Relieve Stress (A beginner’s guide)

Featured

Life in this era has become more complex. A lot is happening worldwide, and everyone is trying to catch up. In a bid to stay abreast with the vicissitudes of life, our health gets threatened. Sometimes, our health could get threatened without us being aware. When this happens, stress sets in.

Stress is simply your body’s reaction to changes that affect you. These changes could be emotional, physical, or even psychological. One of the most effective methods of managing stress is meditation.

This article discusses meditation, what happens to the brain when you meditate, how to achieve the maximum result and the challenges you may encounter in meditation.

What is Meditation?

Contrary to popular belief, meditation does not involve keeping your mind empty so that you don’t think about anything. Meditation is not like that; in fact, quite the opposite. A person can achieve a state of calmness both mentally and emotionally through the practice of meditation. This is done by practicing paying attention and being aware. Focusing on a particular thing could be a part of this training. It may seem a bit difficult for someone who has not done this before.

What Happens to Your Brain When You Meditate?

1. Areas of Your Brain That Strengthen Memory and Attention Are Further Developed

Neural connections are how the brain functions. As you repeatedly perform an action, the neural pathway leading to it is strengthened, making it easier for you to access. For instance, when someone first learns to play the guitar, everything appears to be complicated. However, if he persists for about 3 years, he will eventually master it and find it simple. Simply put, it’s because that brain pathway has been established. When you meditate, the same thing takes place. The brain’s learning, memory, and self-awareness pathways evolve over time.

2. Meditation Relaxes Your Sympathetic Nervous System

The fight-or-flight system is another name for this nervous system. The brain is unable to decide whether to fight or run when you are in a dangerous situation. Stress hormones are released whenever there is an apparent threat. A person is said to be stressed when this happens frequently.

You activate the parasympathetic nervous system while meditating, turning off the sympathetic nervous system. Meditation can therefore help lower stress.

The Basic Ways of Meditating Are:

– Observing Your Thoughts

Contrary to popular belief, this approach does things a little differently by allowing thoughts to pass through your mind. Here’s what you do in place of forcing your mind to be empty of all thoughts: As the thoughts arise, tag them and then release them. For example, you might be in the middle of your meditation when you realize that you have only one day left to finish the project you were given. Instead of breaking out in a panic and saying, “I need to go and get back to work, so I don’t fail,” simply label it and continue your journey.

– Focusing on Your Breath

This one is influenced by Buddhist custom. It simply entails paying attention to your breath. You already have something to fixate on when you focus on your breath. Your focus should be on breathing in and out while doing this.

– Body Scanning

Here, as the name suggests, you scan your body. You merely shift your focus from mental thoughts to each individual part of your body, one at a time. Up until you’re finished, you move from one area of your body to another. You can begin by concentrating on one side of your face, then work your way up to your head before moving back down until you have focused on every part of your body. You’ll notice that each time you scan down a specific area of the body, you become aware of sensations that could be pleasant or unpleasant.

You should combine all three of these techniques in order to get the best results while meditating. You must be aware of your thoughts, your breathing, and, eventually, your entire body. You shouldn’t start by scanning your body because it might distract you. Later, you can proceed to that. You should practice concentration, contemplation, and meditation.

The Following Factors Must be Considered as They Will Play a Role in Helping You Achieve the Maximum Result

The first thing to think about is time when beginning a meditation routine and how to make the most of it to reduce stress. You have to be prepared to make the time. It’s not necessary to set out for an hour or two when you set a time. It might only take five or ten minutes, and you can add on from there. The capacity to learn is another crucial element. At different times in our lives, we all pick up new skills. You won’t be able to make any real progress if you don’t acknowledge that you are still a learner in this area.

1. Setting Out Time

A timer could be used for this. It is simpler to do it while using a timer. Although most people meditate in the morning and evening, if you’re just starting out, you can meditate by yourself in the morning. It is crucial to remember that setting aside time each day for meditation can have a significant impact. This is so that when the designated time arrives, your body begins to signal that it’s time to meditate. Over time, your body and mind will align with the designated time.

Just take it one minute at a time when you feel ready to extend the time. Be patient, and don’t rush. The key to this process is not to think about it too much.

In the event that you do not reach your goal, you must learn to be patient with yourself. It’s important to treat yourself nicely. You should celebrate your achievement and all the positive things that come from it, but when you are done, get back to work on improving yourself.

2. A Good Place

Finding a suitable location and making the time to meditate are both crucial. You require a quiet area free from disturbances. A room with every amenity may not be necessary. Just a peaceful area will do. You can keep your mind still by doing this.

3. Warm-up

Like when you start exercising, you might need to warm up before you start. Yoga poses could be used to warm up. Note that this is not necessary.

4. Positioning

The posture you adopt before starting to meditate is crucial. Simply be at ease while sitting on the ground, a chair, a table, etc. The idea is to stand up straight with your spine in a neutral position. This enables proper energy circulation and an even distribution of your body’s weight.

Additionally, you have the option to raise your hands or place them on the floor or on your lap. You can choose whichever feels most comfortable to you. You must feel at ease before you can practice effectively.

5. Your Breath

You may need some practice to get the hang of focusing on your breath, but here’s where to start. Keep your eyes closed and remain in your chosen position. As you take your breaths, think about them. Avoid making any changes to your breathing pattern as much as you can. Use your entire diaphragm, and let it be natural. Just breathe normally, without going too quickly or slowly. You might want to up it once you start to get the hang of it, but don’t!

If it will help you focus, you can decide to keep track of how many breaths you take. Simply labeling thoughts as they arise will allow you to let them go without building on them. When you find yourself drifting, stop yourself right away and start counting your breaths again. It might take some time to accomplish all of this, but with practice, you get better.

6. End of Practice

Don’t just fly off after your meditation session is over. Spend some time thinking about how you felt before starting your meditation and how you felt afterward. Stretch out gradually before standing up.

Challenges You May Encounter

You might have trouble as a beginner trying to meditate to reduce stress. It’s important to remember that everything is a process, and things get better over time. Everyone who practices proper meditation now did not begin by doing so; instead, they all ran into difficulties. Several of these difficulties include:

– Sleep

The same region of the brain that is activated just before falling asleep is also activated during meditation (especially in the beginning phase). By meditating in an unfavorable setting, you can avoid falling asleep. For instance, you can sit while you meditate rather than lying down (which may be tempting). You don’t have to meditate in your bedroom; you can do it somewhere else. Try meditating while keeping your eyes open as well. The first few times you try to meditate while keeping your eyes open will be challenging, but it gets easier with practice. In addition, you can mix it up and try meditating while walking or sitting in a chair.

– Doubt

You would occasionally wonder if you were acting morally or if you were just wasting your time. This is due to the fact that, almost like with anything that begins, changes don’t become apparent right away. You can be confident that you are acting appropriately as long as you continue to meditate. With time, the outcome will speak for itself.

Conclusion

One of the best practices you can use in this day and age when we are constantly being bombarded with activities is to make the most of meditation to reduce stress. One of the natural ways to reduce stress is through meditation; if done correctly, it can help you lead a happy and healthy life.

Foreign

A stranger in a strange country.

To some extent, many people have never live out the particular aspect of teenage angst whereby one feels foregin to everything and everyone.

Bodies changing, hormonal awakening and all that. We’ve been through it…Have we come out of it?

When your mind thinks in a language and your people in another, when your tongue craves tastes that others shy away from, and in your ears echo songs of the world but not of *your* world…

What does that make you?

Foreign in your being, among your peers;

Foreign by birth, among your species;

Where are you a citizen of?

2019

New year, new us? Although immensely cliche, it is not uncommon to secretly feel this way at the transition to a new year. “2019 will be a decisive year!”. Every year is decisive. The end of a year is the metric by which we gauge our evolution, comparing to past periods. Every year is decisive in that our actions determine whether we stagnate or move forward. Moving forward can be at breakneck speed or slow as hell. Nevertheless, we strive to keep moving no matter what.
Lately, time has not been on our side: new baby, more work… We started a Patreon page to help fuel our platform. This will also allow co-authors to give more time to their creative endeavors. The time of madly moonlighting on ten jobs to support our passions should come soon. We will be posting free versions of the Kindle exclusive book “Irrévocablement liées” (link). Our patrons will also get the translated English version as soon as it comes out during the year. The first, patrons only, short story is out. We’re having the idea of running a sort of poll to get the community choosing directions for the protagonist’s future challenges. That will depend on how many backers we get along the year.
So, 2019 is here and now! We plan to have a blast this year together, and hopefully, with all of you!

Elaborated

Feb 11 2006, 4:44 PM


I’ve played Xmen legends during the past two months. Eventually, I finished it. Last week I started on Xmen legends II. Today I’ve already gotten to the final act, did the game get easier from the first to the second opus? Or am I just playing far too much? Or both?

And here is a subject all on its own: med student, last year, how will I play once I start internship? Who will be crazy enough to take the chance and start a family with a madman of gaming such as I? And the questions could go on and on. Oh well, I’ll never change and mostly because I don’t want to. End of discussion. I do hope to have heirs to carry my love of games. Maktoub”

Today’s one-word prompt gave me the idea to find some of my old writings, share them for those who’ve never seen them and Elaborate some ideas within, answer some questions I had left hanging.

X-men Legends was a good game, in my opinion. Fortunately I had written this little bit about it, otherwise, I would certainly not have even remembered it existed on my own. We have all seen many movies, read quite a few books and maybe even played hundreds of games (video, board, card, etc.). But those that really mark us we cannot really forget, for whatever reason that may be. If I would name one of each that marked me:

  • Book: Summer of Night, it’s an oldish one, I read it very young, my first of the Horror genre and it scared me immensely. I read it again about a year ago, I still like the book and I can absolutely see how it could have impacted me the way it did. I was in a school with a building as old as time, reminding me too much of the school the kids go to in the novel
  • Board game: Monopoly Classic Game. A silly but simple reason why. I was young, shopping for something new on Christmas, and the store owner’s daughter was or seemed rather “hot”. In retrospect, I cannot remember what feature qualified her as such to my young eyes, nevertheless, whenever I think of Christmas, I remember Monopoly and I remember her (Isabelle, gleaned from eavesdropping while looking around the shop).
  • Card game: Magic The Gathering. This was the first one I ever saw, tried and played. Back then, I felt that simply getting a hang of the rules was Magic in itself!
  • Video game: Final Fantasy VI. The original North American version, erroneously dubbed Final Fantasy 3 (while in truth it was the 6th game in the series), is the one that I borrowed from a friend one day on the schoolyard. I had little idea of what was in store, but I liked the name. It reminded me that ultra hard NES game I had once tried at another friend’s house. It became my favorite game for a very long time. As many can remember, the story was epic in its main path, but the side activities and the hidden quests related to each character truly open up the story. Both the lore and character development shine with personality, uniqueness. To this day, I still load up at least once a week some track from the Distant Worlds orchestral interpretations. My favorite music from FF6 is the Opera di Maria that the game’s character Celes Chere played in (as Maria)  🙂
  • Movie: if there is one movie that I could name despite having seen it so long ago, it’s Goonies! I rewatched just once about a decade or so ago and I was blown by how well I remembered e-ve-ry single scene as if I’d seen it just the day before. Yes, it’s rather old for some of you, it remains a timeless classic for me which can almost be said for the majority of Spielberg movies…

As for the last question….well, I’ve learned to tone down the intensity of the gaming somewhat. Or rather, I watered it down. By inserting short bursts of play in down times, whenever the significant other is busy, kid sleeping or busy, lunch breaks etc. I managed to still game (I’ve logged almost 200 hrs into Xenoblade Chronicles 2 this year!) while seeming not to. If everyone gets their quality time, who can complain really? As a consequence, it’s been almost 2 months since I last turned the PS4 on. My time has been mostly spent on portable gaming (3DS and the epically awesome Switch, my Vita disappeared more than a year ago….stolen? Unknown). There’s always a way to balance everything to some measure. It can just take patience to find it…

Wandering thoughts

Most posts can be rather short. Quite a few times, writers seem to have more strength than the rest of us to produce longwinded entries. Often I end up skipping over the longer ones. And occasionally, one can be so compelling as to grip for pages on. Even stories that do not usually interest me can suck me when written with so much heart.

I come to wonder at times, what is my expression? What am I trying to tell the world and how am I doing it? On certain days, on certain occasions, I can sit and tell entire stories in my head. Stuff that could truly take the whole day to tell. But it’s all in my head, and a few hours later I will forget most of the details from before. Funny thing is if I sit down and try to pour it all out onto paper or otherwise…it simply flies away like wisps of smoke! My story ends prematurely just by trying to give birth to it. It is about time someone invented the mindreading typewriter! Just sync it, forget it and think away. Then every evening would be the work of parsing through the clutter and keeping the stories that matter. Although, every thought I have will matter to me, right?

I remember that time when I first found someone willing to hear my voice. All my stories were now theirs and it felt good. Together we filled notebooks upon notebooks, telling each other the most flabbergasting stories real and imagined. Or maybe the most real imaginings we could conjure up. “Reality is often counter-intuitive“. By retelling each other stories of moments we experienced together, we felt we came closer to understanding those events and maybe even our own realities (i.e. perceptions). Diving back into remnants of those past writings, I was surprised by the difference in how I saw my world. It was also rather amazing to realize how intricate we were in our descriptions.

I have digressed farther than originally intended. I started with an idea. And on the way, I’ve lost that thread of thought.  Subjects related to perception and reality often bring anime/manga to mind, for me. Many convoluted stories in anime deal with such themes in their own manner. Steins GateSerial Experiments Lain, and even Sword Art Online are those I can think of the most in this case. This last one showcases unquestionably how gaming also delves into such a theme. Just look at the opening cutscene of any Bayonetta, not only those first words of each entry in the series so far but also the very concept within of the split nature of existence itself brings you towards the idea of reality and perception. For reasons I can’t quite describe, I feel like not including any movies here, except maybe one’s related to Virtual Reality like Ready Player One or The Matrix, or better yet: The Last Action Hero!

Beyond the simple-ish philosophical questions of the mind and it’s experience of the being, another albeit more “hard” science that deals with this kind of theme is quantum physics. For the uninitiated, the obscure [themes, topics, centers of study] of this field appear even more esoteric due to the peculiar fact that it is in a true, though untrue, way a study of perception and reality. At various levels, the macro reality we witness is a congealed form of the fluid microstructures composing it. Said micro backbone of our realities are in flux and take shape as we witness them. In that case, to what point do we influence what we see and thus what becomes real?

 

Segue

Lust is inescapable, but it does not define us. There are those who make themselves slaves of their heat. Their brains appear connected to their genitals which may be the true leader of that person’s motives. Nevertheless, it is inescapable. Is it strength to affirm and live your lustfulness in the most decadent way, weakness to fight against it and thus seem to fight against your own nature? Or is it strength to remain steadfast, to believe enough in your convictions, to walk the martyr’s path?

This week I have often wondered what it meant to be a true martyr. Contemporarily, a martyr requires an audience. Self-serving, virtuous groups such as chastity groups are an example of such. They sport “paraphernalia” identifying them as chaste or whatnot. Under the cover of being able to promote the virtue, I argue that it serves mainly to promote their “own” virtue. Many true historical Martyrs, had no idea they would become such. For whatever selfish or selfless reasons, they fought (metaphorically and/or truly) for their causes and ideals….to death. The assumption that a martyr had no fear of death is false. Truer it is to posit that they simply had principles or beliefs aligned with the concept of good that they will die for to uphold.  In a multilateral war, each side has their martyrs, their beliefs. Was there ever a side that felt that theirs was the truly evil one? It’s all a matter of perspective. But “goodness”, in utmost, unapologetic, purest form, is absolute. Far beyond the discussion of what a relative martyr is, the true martyr defends universal principles, as the good Doctor’s wife says: “…without hope, without witness, without reward.

background-beautiful-blossom-268533

"Virtue is only virtue in extremis"

River Song

Eternal Stranger

pexels-photo-209037To some extent, many people have never lived out of the particular aspect of teenage angst whereby one feels foreign to everything and everyone.

Bodies changing, hormonal awakenings and all that…we’ve been through it, but have we come out of it?

When your mind thinks in a language and your peers’ in another, when your tongue craves tastes that others may shy away from and your ears ring with the echo of songs of the world that are unaccepted in your world…what does that make you?

In your being, foreign; by birth, foreign; who are you really?

Teens grow out of it.

Most learn to live with it

But too many die as it…

Foreign

Invisible

Invisible

Freedom of being…

Invisible is not lonesome, nor depressive.

Not unwanted, simply Invisible

Verily to not be there. Or rather, there but unperceived.

Isn’t Perception what defines personal Reality?

Some forget presence does not imply visible: the wind, love, hate, power

It is the worst thing to be so ignored that we are inexistent.

But it is the best thing.

Life is duality, a dilemma.

Echoing the complex nature of existence: invisible and there; hated and love but ultimately…..Free.

Freedom of being

The passing of years: some updates

         3 years can be a very long time. It can also be the shortest intermede in a very eventful period of one’s life. Things have been rather crazy and hectic. Both work and life have been about constant changes, new situations, challenge after challenge and every new paradigm shift required so much adaptation…
            Since last I actually wrote anything here: 2 kids and marriage, not necessarily in that order or even in the reverse. At one point, gaming and all other nerdiness, as some would put it, kept me going and became a lifeline, a tether to hold on while crossing the torrents of the fast-paced events of the past years. But now, it all seems to be settling somewhat. The strange effect is that with more time on my hands to actually BE doing such activities as gaming, reading and the such, I am doing them far less.
         Two of the most notable mentions for that period: Dragon Age Inquisition and The Witcher 3 (including all DLC). Dragon Age came first, as soon as it was released it was in my hands (Thank you Amazon Release Date Delivery!). It solidified for me what I rather expected from this third installment. The first Dragon Age was amazing, novel and especially difficult for it required some concrete tactical thinking. The sequel was all flash, flair, and aesthetics, appealed to a greater number of non-hardcore PC owner and to console gamers. For me, though it was far too “lite” and lacked the grit and intelligence I felt in Origins. Dragon Age Inquisition did very well to merge many of its predecessors’ strengths to appeal to…everyone? In-depth looks and reviews about the game can be found elsewhere. Suffice to say that it was a welcome pit to sink into in the afternoons and evenings after work where all my problems remained at the door and I stepped into the shoes (or boots) of my characters.
         The Witcher 3 came quite a while after. I actually only started it around the time that Hearts of Stone Story DLC came out. Many loved the Blood and Wine DLC the most. It’s easy to understand: it was beautiful, colorful, different, fresh. but HoS, in my opinion, had the better story. I enjoyed the dark humor of that story, and I certainly rooted for the flawed immortal man that Geralt could either save or doom. I, of course, chose to save the bloke. Fantasy stories with a deep heart set in a form of reality are very appealing. The dragons, the wraith, griffins, and others serve as an anchor to the suspension of disbelief. The true core of the narrative remains very human and relatable. It reminds us of our own fragility, our own humanity, and actually gives hope for a moment that no matter how bad things may be, they could be worse. And no matter how much worse it keeps getting, somehow we must never back down and despair. As a friend of mine liked to repeat: “If you get to it you can get through it”.
         More recently, I have started playing Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. It has been a very divisive game apparently, some people with negative opinions about it do seem right though. When it is not in combat, Hellbalde does feel like a walking simulator where you can die, and the permadeath system sounds really annoying. BUT, as an artistic whole, I think it’s a great achievement by an independent studio. It has gorgeous graphics, it figures a smart and different take on the subject at hand and horrendous hidden object type puzzles. This to say that, despite all the highs in anything, nothing is without some kind of imperfection. Flaws can actually be what defines some forms of art and it is what defines Senua’s Sacrifice. it is a game about psychosis!! Though it may never truly convey what it feels like or how it is REALLY to have such a condition, it gives an idea. And that cringing when looking for that latest blasted pattern? That boredom with the simplistic combat? That headache after inadvertently plunging into that first pit? Well, I guess they DID succeed in their objective…is this a glimpse of what a descent into insanity feels like?
         Much like the Cherek ships in the Belgariad, sometimes you must go through, plunge in, nearer to the abyss, into the mouth of the maelstrom and use its own force to slingshot yourself out of it all, not run away from the darkness but cross the depths to reach the light once again…
Cheers!