Relaxation, Meditation and Mindfulness Techniques to Manage Study Stress
Relaxation, meditation and mindfulness stress management techniques involve learning how to control our body’s response to stress. It is about learning to consciously relax the body and still the mind. Like learning a new language, a little bit every day is far better than a mega-session occasionally. Burgeoning research studies support practitioners’ contentions that multiple advantages accrue to those who sit in stillness. Look over this summary of basic practices. How many are you familiar with? As you read through them, think about which ones you might like to try.
Allowing you to live in the present moment, letting go of past frustrations and future worries, meditation techniques yield physical, mental, and spiritual improvements. To begin, find a quiet spot away from phone, email, television, and other people. Depending on which sort of meditation you do, you may be repeating a mantra (such as in transcendental meditation), chanting (such as in some Buddhist practices), or focusing on breathing or a particular visualisation (a component in many styles of stillness practice). In mindfulness meditation, you may be concentrating on just one thing. Even ten minutes daily can yield results and you will be able to sit for longer and longer periods as you develop your meditation “muscle”.
With this method, surface electromyography electrodes (SEMG) are attached to your skin. The SEMG measures your blood pressure, muscle tension, breathing, and heart rate. A specifically trained biofeedback therapist shows you on a computer screen the ways in which your body reacts, and then teaches you skills for decreasing your stress levels.
Combining meditation and physical exercise to achieve accelerated wellbeing, Yoga involves repeating movements that improve strength and flexibility, promote mental and physical health, and enhance self-awareness. This 5000-year-old practice includes breathing and has spiritual significance for many people.
Stress reduction is achieved in guided imagery practices through the use of visualisation and mental imagery techniques. It has been used effectively with cancer and other patients, who see themselves (in their mind’s eye) without the diseased cells. Alternatively, with guided imagery, practitioners can transport themselves mentally to a restful, beautiful place, thereby calming and relaxing themselves. Proponents claim that the technique can reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol and glucose levels in the blood, and heighten short-term immune cell activity (Guided Imagery Resource Center, in Rakal, 2013).
Also known as diaphragmatic breathing, deep-breathing exercises teach you to engage your diaphragm. If you learn this technique you are in good company; singers and actors have used it for centuries in order to generate uninterrupted song or dialogue (adapted from Rakal, 2013).
The critical aspect of any of these stillness techniques is that they must be practiced regularly. Saying that one cannot concentrate is no excuse; that’s how most people feel, even after years of practice!
- Rakal, D. (2013). Relaxation and meditation techniques. Psych Central. Retrieved on 2 February, 2016, from: http://bit.ly/1sBkZvD.