Many people think that one of the most important benefits of meditation is to relieve stress. I would definitely agree with it. Yet, don’t just meditate when you have stress. That’s like only exercising the night before you have to run a marathon. In this blog post, I want to talk about how meditation can help you relieve stress. I will also talk about the importance of preventing high stress level. If you have some stress problem, it is worth it to handle it sooner than later.
Should You Meditate When You Are Feeling Very Stressful at the Moment
Although I think the answer is “yes, you should meditate when you are feeling very stressful”, I wouldn’t recommend you to do exactly that. The reason is that I often find it very difficult to meditate properly or effectively when I am at the moment of being very stressful. I like to talk a long walk, which is also a type of meditation actually, first to at least get myself back to a slightly lower level of stress. I mean I have to make sure that I am not so stressful that I can kind of feel my hands shaking or anything like that. Otherwise, I have trouble having my usual mantra meditation. I can’t really get into my half-asleep state which is the supposedly core part of my meditation. So, in general, I think that you should meditate when you are feeling very stressful. But if you have trouble doing meditation like me, take a long walk and calm yourself down just a little bit so you can do your meditation properly.
Why Meditation Can Reduce Your Stress
Sometimes, we kind of use meditation as some type of medicine. We wish it can magically solve a difficult problem for us or we wish it can remove all our stress. I would like to remind you that there is really nothing magical about meditation. It is useful yet not magical. All we want to achieve with meditation is to clear our mind. There is also the additional benefit of letting some hidden ideas from our subconscious mind to flow into our conscious mind so we may come up with some cool ideas that we didn’t realize before. Still, our goal is mainly to clear our mind so we have a better version of our mind to think clearly and logically. By thinking more clearly, that means we can now look at the problem, which may be the cause of your high stress level, no bigger or smaller than it really is. Usually, a problem isn’t as scary as it first seems when you get the chance to see it clearly and then come up with possible solutions. By being closer to solving the problems, your resulting stress can usually be reduced.
Meditating When You Have Stress is Not The Best Way to Go
However, meditating to remove stress is not the best way to cope with stress. As I said in the beginning, you don’t want to be the marathon runner who only practice running the day before the marathon takes place. Having one practice is better than having zero practice. Just like being able to meditate your stress away is better than not dealing with it at all. If you are a marathon runner, you should practice regularly to develop the body that can handle the marathon. That same concept is applicable to your mind.
Meditate Regularly to Avoid Reaching High Stress Level
Just like we need to keep our body in shape to handling the physical stress of playing sports, we need to meditate regularly to keep our mind in shape to handle all those possible stress-causing events and problems. Image if you have a problem at work that is growing continuously. For example, there may be some serious conflict between you and your co-worker. If you have to answer rationally, is it better to solve the conflict today or let your conflict grow for another month at a faster and faster page and then you attempt to solver it or even ignore it? The rational answer is of course “today”. If you meditate daily, I bet you will have a clear enough mind to ask yourself this question and answer rationally. Here, it is a possibility that you have just prevented your stress to grow to a very high level. There are times when stress is not caused by a problem but rather caused by an event. For example, when someone say something that hurts you so some bad accident happens to someone you know. In this case, a clear mind can help you look at the event more clearly and let you rational see what is under your control and what is outside. Without meditation, the hit that an unfortunate event can cause you can be a lot of serious.
Find Your Root Cause of Your Stress
Let’s now talk about how I use mediation to handle stress. For myself, I practice mantra meditation. As I have mentioned, I rarely let myself reach a high level of stress. Instead, I meditation every morning to reduce or nearly remove my stress. In the extreme case where I somehow have a high level of stress, I would take a 45-minute-or-more long walk to slightly calm myself down. Then I would start my mantra meditation. In the case where I have just a little bit of stress, I would simply do my mantra mediation directly. In both cases, after my meditation, with my clear mind, there is something else that I have to do. I have to use my mind to think clearly about what is the root cause of my stress. If I can find the root cause, sometimes I can avoid the same cause in the future that cause me stress. The concept of reducing the probability of having future stress is what I consider the most helpful thing that meditation does related to stress.
In conclusion, I think that meditation when you are stressed is a good idea. It helps you reduce your stress by making you think more clearly and see the reality. When you are able to see things as they really are, your problem can be reduces and the stress that cause by the problem can also be reduced.