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Meditation for stress relief

The art of meditation, or mindfulness, has its roots in ancient Buddhist tradition as a path to spiritual enlightenment. 

Psychology moment by moment : a guide to enhancing your clinical practice with mindfulness and meditation
Elise E. Labbé.
Oakland, CA : New Harbinger Publications, c2011.
Psychology Moment by Moment translates mindfulness research into practice by providing clinicians with an evidence-based framework for developing and implementing mindfulness-based interventions with their clients. Readers learn which mindfulness techniques work, the latest research in mindfulness, how to choose mindfulness techniques for particular clients, and how to assess client progress.
     
Real happiness : the power of meditation : a 28-day program
by Sharon Salzberg.
New York : Workman Pub., c2011.
Thousands of years prove it, and Western science backs it: Meditation sharpens focus. Meditation lowers blood pressure, relieves chronic pain, reduces stress. Meditation helps us experience greater calm. Meditation connects us to our inner-most feelings and challenges our habits of self-judgment. Meditation helps protect the brain against aging and improves our capacity for learning new things. Meditation opens the door to real and accessible happiness. There is no better person to show a beginner how to harness the power of meditation than Sharon Salzberg, one of the world s foremost meditation teachers and spiritual authors. Cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society, author of Lovingkindness, Faith, and other books, Ms. Salzberg distills 30 years of teaching meditation into a 28-day program that will change lives. It is not about Buddhism, it s not esoteric it is closer to an exercise, like running or riding a bike. From the basics of posture, breathing, and the daily schedule to the finer points of calming the mind, distraction, dealing with specific problem areas (pain in the legs? falling asleep?) to the larger issues of compassion and awareness, Real Happiness is a complete guide. It explains how meditation works; why a daily meditation practice results in more resiliency, creativity, peace, clarity, and balance; and gives twelve meditation practices, including mindfulness meditation and walking meditation. An extensive selection of her students FAQs cover the most frequent concerns of beginners who meditate Is meditation selfish ? How do I know if I m doing it right ? Can I use meditation to manage weight ?
     
Reiki meditations for beginners
Lawrence Ellyard.
Twin Lakes, WI : Lotus Press, 2010.
Reiki Meditations for Beginners offers for the first time a practical guide to the practice of Meditation and Reiki. It provides the reader with the practical 'know how' and teaches the basics of meditation practice combined with an introduction to Reiki. The book is divided into three sections which include: An introduction to Reiki, an introduction to Meditation practice and section three includes a total of 25 Reiki Meditations. Reiki Meditations for Beginners is a complete guide to the practice of meditation and shows how these two practices are in fact an integral experience for anyone wishing to cultivate inner peace and happiness in daily life. Far from being abstract ideas, the methods presented in this book make meditation readily accessible for the reader, whether they are a complete novice or seasoned practitioner.
     
God's healing power : finding your true self through meditation
B.K. Jayanti.
New York : Sterling Pub. Co., Inc., [2010], c2002.
World-renowned spiritual teacher B.K. Jayanti reveals how a regular meditation practice can help us tap into a higher power. Javanti particularly focuses on the techniques of Raja Yoga meditation, which teaches us to stop wasteful thoughts, concentrate on our inner strength, and reach out to the power of the divine. Through this process we can live like yogis, break free of negative habits, and improve our relationship with others…and the planet.
     
Chakra meditation : transformation through the seven energy centers of the body
Layne Redmond.
Boulder, Colo. : Sounds True ; Enfield : Publishers Group UK [distributor], 2010.
Our chakras¿the seven energy centers located from the base of the spine to the crown of the head¿govern every aspect of our health and consciousness. Resting in the lower chakra is the primordial life force of kundalini. With Chakra Meditation, Layne Redmond presents a complete program for awakening kundalini and bringing its cleansing, revitalizing energy up through all seven chakras. Combining five traditional yogic techniques¿visualization, breathing, postures, sacred sounds, and meditation¿Redmond provides a safe and effective system to tune each chakra and open ourselves to inner sources of inspiration and personal power. Includes eight full-color chakra yantra illustrations and a CD of seven complete guided practices. This book includes a spoken-word audio CD, which is not available with the digital ebook edition.
     

However, meditation is being used today as a path to better health, both spiritual and physical.

Studies using brain imaging scans have shown that meditation shifts brain activity from the right hemisphere to the left, increasing feelings of contentedness while decreasing stress levels.  Meditation can sometimes help to "re-wire" the brain, helping someone to act in a calm manner when faced with a stressful situation. 

Regarding physical health, meditation on a regular basis has been shown to slow forms of cancer, reduce plaque in coronary arteries, strengthen the immune system and lower blood pressure.

Types of meditation

Guided: guided to soothing places

Eating: concentrate at breakfast

Walking: count your steps

Breathing: slowly inhale/exhale

Transcendental: repeating sounds

More about each type

The initial steps are often the hardest part of meditation practice.  Many people choose to join a group or class to learn meditation, but instructional books and audiotapes can be just as effective.  Meditation techniques are being taught at clinics, community centers and hospitals throughout the country.  

Some tips on meditation:

  • When breathing, breathe slowly and deeply from the stomach, not just shallowly from the chest.
  • If thoughts come up while you meditate, don't try to suppress or analyze them.  Focus instead on breathing or on your mantra.
  • If you wish to meditate for a specified amount of time, have a clock nearby but do not set an alarm.  
  •  Is your schedule so busy that you don't have time for meditation?  Find a mindless task that you do every day, such as brushing your teeth or drying your hair, and do it mindfully, concentrating on your awareness of the task.

Spending 5 minutes or half an hour working meditation into your daily routine will lead to better health and a clearer, more peaceful mind.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff