• 12/30/2023

Take a Breath: Meditations to Relieve Stress

A woman sits cross-legged with her eyes closed.

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Life feels far too fast-paced these days. You might feel like you’re hardly keeping your head above water as you struggle to juggle all your responsibilities. When stress builds and builds, you eventually experience burnout or a meltdown of all your emotions. Meditations to relieve stress can help you before you get to that tipping point and teach you the power within yourself.

As little as five minutes of meditation a day can lower your stress levels immensely. You may have other stress-relief methods to turn to, but meditation is a fail-safe option that you can implement anywhere. Learning how to control your thoughts and body through something as simple as meditation is a talent — and here’s everything you need to know to start working it into your routine.

Styles of Meditation to Learn

Meditation is sort of an umbrella term. You’ll want to learn the several styles of meditations to relieve stress so you know what works best for you. All of these styles, plus others, can be done almost anywhere. However, knowing which one works best for you is crucial to knowing how to ground yourself and calm any restless thoughts you have.

Guided Meditation

Guided meditation is likely what most people think of when they picture the activity. It involves images and visualizations, though all are done in your head. You essentially transport yourself to a more serene scene, one that instills calm in you — for some people, that might be the ocean, while others may enjoy looking at a snowy mountain. 

Since people are deep in thought nearly 50% of the time, finding a way to redirect those thoughts is necessary. Fortunately, you can refocus your mind by imagining yourself somewhere else. You can typically use a video or audio to guide you through this form of meditation, or you can walk yourself through it.

Mantra Meditation

You may also know of mantra meditation, which is similar to repeating affirmations to yourself. This type of meditation is perfect if you need a quick boost. All you need to do is repeat a meaningful phrase or sentence to yourself several times, allowing you to think about it and apply it to your life. It can help you avoid distracting thoughts and bring you some peace when you can’t escape anxious thinking.

Mindfulness Meditation

Meditating for mindfulness can specifically bring you back to earth or reality just by focusing on yourself. For example, with mindfulness meditation, you may concentrate on box breathing or something involving your senses. As a result, this kind of meditation can draw you back to your center. Meditating mindfully for around 20 minutes per day can improve your sleep quality and help you crush insomnia. It has endless benefits you can see pop up in your life after some work with it.

Helpful Meditations to Relieve Stress from Your Daily Grind

Everyone needs a break once in a while. If you don’t look after yourself, you become more prone to burnout and can feel the physical and mental effects of stress. A little pressure can be healthy, but too much can lead to side effects that could even result in death.

Though women have gained more recognition in the workplace since the COVID-19 pandemic, burnout has also been on the rise, proving that a work-life balance is more necessary than ever. Burnout can arise from caregiving, too — no matter what you do every day, you should keep an eye on your stress levels and recognize the signs of being close to shutting down. Here are some ways to minimize your stress while meditating in the way most comfortable for you.

1. Check in With Yourself

The best thing to do when meditating, especially as you’re just getting used to the activity, is to check on how you’re feeling. What is your mental state like? Do you feel any discomfort in your body? Spend some time orienting yourself with how you feel. Over time, you may notice your thoughts have drifted back to yourself and become occupied with checking in with every part of your body. It could be an easy way to start meditating for you.

2. Reflect on a Reading

Find something special to you, such as a religious text or favorite inspirational book. During this type of meditation to relieve stress, you’ll flip through the book and find a page at random. Then, take a small section of reading from that page and repeat it to yourself in a type of mantra meditation. From there, you can meditate on it and see how it speaks to you. You never know — it might just unveil a new way of looking at life.

3. Go for a Walk

One great way to amplify your meditation time’s effects is to get outside. Being in nature inherently has a calming effect on most people, and it can remind you to stay in the present or you’ll miss out on some of the most interesting things. Walking in nature engages all your senses, including smell and sound, making it a great option when you have extra time to meditate and ground yourself.

4. Reach Out to Someone

As you meditate, you become more mindful of the present and how your body feels. You may check in with your feelings often and see what’s missing in your soul. In this case, reaching out to a loved one might help you feel more grounded and aware of yourself. You can speak to them about your day and use their voice to help you meditate on mindfulness, knowing you’re not alone.

Sometimes, if you feel like you can’t sit alone, a loved one may even guide you through meditation. Ask them to help you visualize a picturesque place or to talk you through affirmations. Just having someone there might help you calm down and pave the way for solo meditation in the future.

5. Sit Comfortably and Quietly

Fewer people know how to sit with their thoughts than you might believe. Staying silent and dealing with potentially distressing thoughts can take a lot of mental fortitude. For example, if you’re prone to anxious thoughts, you might come across a troubling idea. Did you turn the stove off? What if your pet gets into trouble?

Learning to sit comfortably and quietly with your own thoughts can help you cope with them and work toward improving them. In the case of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), distressing thoughts might be common, but mindfulness can bring you back to the present. Sitting with yourself in your ideal space creates room for one of the greatest meditations to relieve stress — not just in the moment, but also over time as you learn to deal with them.

Rely on Meditations to Relieve Stress

Fortunately, stress can melt away in several ways. For example, participating in a hobby or doing something you love can take some of the stressors off your shoulders, at least for a little while. Having a go-to outlet for your stress is an excellent idea. However, what should you do when you can’t make the time or space for your usual stress reliever? Turn to meditation. 

When you learn the meditations to relieve stress, you’ll feel more prepared to confront stressful situations anywhere and anytime. Meditation can be done anywhere, and it doesn’t require any props or objects to help you ground yourself in reality. It’s a valuable tool you can always have in your back pocket the second you learn practical techniques.

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