Relax Your Stress Away
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Where's your happy place?
The mind’s eye is a powerful tool and you can practice visualisation with it wherever you are, whether lying on the floor, sitting in a comfortable sofa or, if you have to, in your desk chair at work. All you need to do is close your eyes and picture a beautiful, peaceful place, one in which you feel happiness. It might be a balmy beach, or a cool forest, or an alpine lake, or the top floor of a high rise building, or a patch of sunshine in a favourite room. It doesn’t have to be somewhere you have been either, you can make it up.
Once you feel yourself in this place, take ten whole minutes to enjoy it. What do you hear and see? What can you smell? What do your mind and body feel like in this place? While you are there, take the time to breathe deeply. As you prepare to leave this place, be aware of the heavy, relaxed state of your body. Feel it sinking into your surroundings as you slowly open your eyes and return to your everyday world. Keep the peace of your other place with you as you leave.
The basic premise of meditation is that you release your mind from whatever it’s embroiled in, and remove it from its current context. Sit quietly in a comfortable position and choose a calming word or phrase to focus on - favourite quotes or words from poetry, a book, or scripture are often a good choice. Close your eyes, or focus them about 120 cm (4 ft) in front of you (this is called the meditation spot).
Breathe slowly and naturally, filling the stomach and not the chest. Slowly relax your muscles from head to feet, drawing the tail bone in and lifting the chest and the crown of the head. Start to repeat your word or phrase over and over in your mind, or quietly to yourself. Let your mind release into the word or phrase, and then away. Remain passive and refrain from analysing what you are doing. When other thoughts come to your mind, just say 'Oh well,' and gently return to the word or phrase of focus. Burning aromatic oil, incense, and/or candles and dimming lights can help some people to meditate.
Continue to meditate for ten to twenty minutes. It’s best to just open your eyes occasionally to check on the time as using an alarm will end your meditation abruptly and disturb your sense of peace. When you come to the end of your meditation time, sit quietly for a minute or so and gradually open your eyes. Stand up slowly, stretching if you want to, and enter back into the day.
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Last updated: November 9th, 2005
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