For Personal or Group Meditation and Stress & Anxiety Relief: Get comfortable in a chair; uncross arms and legs and close your eyes. Head should be relaxed at 45 degrees.
Turn off all phone sounds, and set an alarm for 10 – 20 minutes. Use a soothing sound (like a harp) to awaken you. Be sure to find a space and time when no one will disturb you.
When starting to meditate – Cup and place hands gently in lap, palms up, thumb tips touching. Close eyes and envision a favorite photo (or focus in your mind’s eye a beautiful beach scene with sunset & cool breeze). Or focus on an object (like a lit candle); then start your rhythmic breathing as described below. Your breathe should get very quiet, calm and slow with time.
Begin to focus on your breathe. If your breathing is short and hurried, slow it down by taking long, slow breaths. Inhale slow and deep, hold for a count of 4; then exhale slowly; after exhale count to 4. Count slowly to five as you inhale, and then count slowly to five as you exhale. Repeat counting silently for about 10 breaths; pay attention to how your body naturally relaxes. Recognizing this will help you to relax even more; as will every long, slow exhalation.
Now as you are getting more comfortable, close your eyes if you have not done so already, and combine slowed breathing with your imagination. Picture yourself on a beautiful beach. The sky is a radiant with colors as the sun starts to set. See yourself sitting in a comfortable beach chair with the ocean in front of you. You feel a gentle, constant tropical breeze and hear and see the gentle sounds of the waves coming to shore. Feel relaxation entering your body and tension leaving your body. Breathe deeply, but in a natural rhythm. Continue breathing, but each time you inhale, imagine that you are breathing in more relaxation. Each time you exhale, imagine that you are getting rid stress, anger and tension.
Progressive muscle relaxation.
Continue to focus your thoughts on yourself and your breathing. Mentally scan your body slowly from head to toe. Notice areas that feel tense or cramped. Let go of as much tension as you can. Gentle twist or move your body to reduce the tension you feel. Rotate your head in a smooth, circular motion once or twice. (Stop any movements that cause pain!) Roll your shoulders forward and backward several times. Let all of your muscles completely relax. Recall a pleasant thought or continue to focus on your ocean and sunset scene. Take a series of slow, deep breaths and exhale slowly each time. You should feel relaxed.
Mental imagery relaxation.
Now with a relaxed body and relaxed breathing, you are still sitting comfortably. If any uncomfortable, stressful or negative thoughts come into to your mind, let them just float by. Start mental imagery by focusing on a real object (a lit candle or flowers) where you are sitting relaxed and comfortable. Do not judge yourself if negative thoughts creep into your mind. Just watch them like a movie (as an outsider would) and continue to relax. Think of a phrase, picture or word that is comforting. It can be “Ohm” or it can be a word that means something to you such as “peace”, “freedom”, or “Watch Me”. Or, choose a phrase such as:
- It is time to go of things I cannot control.
- I am healthy, happy, and loving.
- I know I can handle anything.
- I Believe All my desires and dreams will come to me.
- I am safe and strong and can take care of myself.
- Every day I am growing in the Glory of God.
Take a moment and repeat the word or phrase (quietly or out loud) that you have chosen as you continue to sit erect yet comfortably or on a beautiful beach, or in a peaceful, quiet place, and continue to breathe slowly and relaxed. Head should tilt at 45 degrees.
After leading meditation for a Group say the following: Very slowly and when you are ready, open your eyes and return your focus back on your current surroundings. Ask the Group to share their meditation experience. Do meditation daily to increase anxiety, depression, cortisol levels and blood pressure and to increase the dopamine and serotonin levels (happy chemicals) of the brain. With just 15 minutes a day, you WILL feel the difference!