Easy Ways to Relieve Stress and Tension: Interweaving
One of the best and easiest ways to let go of stress and tension is meditation. As mentioned in the previous article (Meditation is for Everyone, November 4th, 2010), meditation is your natural state of mind when you’re not resisting experience. When you are calmly detached and present with moment to moment experience as it arises into consciousness, you are in a very restful and rejuvenating state. Events do not have the opportunity to create tension within you because you are processing these events as they occur. In such a state, you may also be processing events that occurred a long time ago. Mindful awareness relieves build ups of past stress and tension and prevents the accumulation of stress in the present .
Meditation is quite a discipline that many people find difficult. Some say they are too busy. Others just can’t find the self discipline for it. Many people adopt a meditation practice because they have heard and read about the many benefits and that it is a simple way to relieve stress. However, for the reasons above, so many of these people abandon their practices within a few months.
The good news is that there are many ways to make meditation easier – even for busy people. One of these is through “interweaving”.
You probably remember some ways that you personally relieve stress and tension. For some people, reading the Bible has a rejuvenating effect. Yoga practitioners find that, when they stretch throughout the day, they feel much more grounded and centered. Mindful breathing and just stopping to check in with yourself, your breath, your emotions and your thoughts is quite rejuvenating if you do it frequently. Muslims pray toward Mecca five times daily. Bakhti yogis find peace while praying through song. Everyone has at least one serene memory from childhood, such as a favorite nature spot. All these things can become interweaves.
In an elevator, you have 20 seconds to do something that goes a little way toward relieving stress and tension or something which generates feeling in the body. It’s the same with grocery store lines, doctors’ waiting rooms and waiting for the bathroom to open. You can either use these moments to follow your usual habits which cause stress and tension to accumulate, or you can use your “Elevator Time” wisely by taking moments to interweave new habits which cause peace to accumulate.
I call this an “integration strategy”. Most mind body disciplines and spiritual paths have one built in. It’s called an integration strategy because it integrates peace and mindfulness into your daily life.
You don’t have to accept a one size fits all strategy. What you do need to do is find the activities that you are most compatible with so that you enjoy the whole ride. Mindful absorption in such activities becomes much easier that way.
Let’s assume that you’re a Christian riding an elevator. You can visualize Jesus showering you with light while blessing your family, friends, coworkers and enemies with the light of true happiness. Imagine broad smiles on everyone’s faces during this blessing.
Perhaps 20 seconds wasn’t enough. The elevator opens and you don’t feel a whole lot more peaceful. Maybe it even stirred you up a little bit. That’s OK. At least 90% of the positive effects of your action occurred below the level of consciousness. Most of the work occurs behind the scenes. When you’re back at your desk, wait an hour and take 30 seconds to one minute to do it again. Take another minute and do the same an hour later. The effects are cumulative. This means that they will creep up on you in time and culminate into a powerful momentum of peace. It will become very easy to relieve stress and tension in any given moment if you keep up this momentum.
If you’ve been keeping a regular meditation practice and interweave peaceful activities into your day, you will notice that meditation becomes less and less of a struggle. With the proper strategies, it becomes much easier to relieve stress and tension.
In future articles, we’ll discuss more ways to make meditation easier for busy people and everyone else.
Tom Von Deck is an international corporate meditation trainer, stress management speaker and author of Oceanic Mind – The Deeper Meditation Training Course. You can sneak preview the first half of the book and get free guided meditation mp3s at Tom’s website, www.DeeperMeditation.net