Meditation for a Stressful Time

Almost everyone these days is experiencing a time of heightened – and extended – stress.  

After this goes on for a long period of time, our reserves of patience, calm, and compassion can wear thin. We feel less resilient to problems and less able to give to others.  

How can we fill up our tank of goodwill and good feeling?  

It’s definitely a great time to relax, have fun, and enjoy life as much as possible. 

In addition, there are a number of meditations specifically designed to increase these positive qualities we may be a little short on right now.  

Here’s a few you can try any time you have a few quiet moments. 

Meditation for Calm 

The mind has a naturally calm and clear quality when it is not muddied by thoughts, worries, and stories. 

Have you noticed that? When we aren’t talking to ourselves our mind tends to be quiet and calm. 

When we are 

  • staring out and enjoying an open vista
  • completely focused on playing music
  • swimming, running, or playing with nothing on our mind but that activity

These are some of the most happy times we have as human beings. Our mind has stopped chatting and creating stories.  It is still and we are focused on something simple – movement, sound, sight.  

You can access this clear, calm state of mind by focusing on something simple. This gives the mind a rest from overthinking, just like staring out at the ocean at sunset. 

Here are a few meditation techniques that you can use to access this calm state of mind

  • Counting Meditation
    • Count to 20 and back again. Focus solely on each number – picturing it and hearing it – as you count. 
  • Breath Meditation
    • Focus on the feeling of breath moving in and out. Choose one spot to focus on, for example the tip of your nose or feeling your abdomen rising and falling. 
  • Open Sky Meditation
    • Lie on the ground and stare up at the blue sky. Imagine your mind is open and clear just like the sky. Allow any thoughts that arise to move through and disappear like a cloud moving through the sky

Meditation for Compassion

We all want to live in a friendly, helpful place where the people around us are good-natured and ready to lend a hand. 

Stress can make us feel like we don’t have the time or energy to help others. Seeing people behave badly can make us feel less compassionate towards them. 

If you think about it though, every human and every creature wants to be happy. We all want happiness and don’t want suffering. Most of what we do is our attempts to make that happen. 

So however people are acting, and however stretched thin we feel ourselves, it helps to keep in mind that we all have this in common. We want to be happy and we don’t want difficulties. 

Take a few minutes to think about how this applies to you and to everyone around you. Contemplate how we all have this in common, all deserve to have happiness, and all do our best to find it. 

Meditation for Patience

A nice antidote to impatience is gratitude. 

Whether it’s people, machines, or a pain in our own bodies testing your patience right now, these are all things we can take time to be grateful for as well. 

If your computer is annoying you, take the time to contemplate how grateful you are for your computer, everything it does for you, and how many ways it makes your life easier. 

If traffic is testing your patience, take the time to think about how each person sitting in their car is going to work to provide a service to others. The people around you are heading to their jobs to repair cars, sell food, clean an office, or work in a bank. They are making money to take care of themselves and their families.  Because they do this work, you can buy food, go to clean places, get money from the bank, and drive a car.  Isn’t it wonderful all the work these fellow humans around you do? 

If your body is having a difficulty, take the time to appreciate what a wonderful miracle your body is – everything it does to keep you alive without you ever having to think about it! Even though you may have some pain or difficulty, your body is truly miraculous!

Doing Your Best When Times Are Hard

The meditations above are just a few ways you can fill up your tank of calm, patience, compassion, and resilience when you are feeling stretched thin. 

The most important thing you can do is to go easy on yourself and others. We’re all facing challenges. We could all use a little more love, a little more care, and a little more joy. 

Be gentle with yourself and others.  

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