I am always grateful to my neighbor, Gretchen Brown, who lent me books on meditation and answered some questions I had after reading them. At the time, I was in middle school and entirely uncommunicative with my parents. Meditation helped me calm down on countless occasions after disagreements with them, as well as other family and friends. I’ve never maintained a steady, daily practice of meditation; I just do whatever works for me in the moment. I simply find a quiet time for it whenever I feel overwhelmed – some days I meditate several times.
One of the most direct paths to stress relief is through meditation because you have to relax your mind. For me, it is much easier to return to a stressful situation afterward and recognize that the situation isn’t that important in the scope of your existence. Often this fresh mindset helps me to resolve the problem much more quickly. Meditation helps me to press the reset button and approach issues from the beginning.
Meditation to me is about letting go of my inner dialogue and observing my breath without controlling it. By doing this, I put aside whatever is stressing me out, and allow my mind and body to relax. After a while I can generally let go of my focus on the breath and clear my mind. Even if this doesn’t happen, however, just observing my breath and letting go of any thoughts that pop up is calming.
Just as with other aspects of fitness and stress-relief, everybody is different. There are countless ways to meditate and everybody has to find their own way to inner peace. I highly recommend talking to someone in your life who has a meditation practice, and also finding out more about the basics.
Keep in mind, however, that whatever you find out is a guideline, not a definite path for you. This is why different sources outline a variety of meditative practices. Through continuous experimentation, you will be able to relax into yourself.