Ways to Reduce Stress

Tell a friend you have taken up bead meditation and said ‘friend’ may suddenly look askance, thinking you have gone ‘weird. ‘ But being in touch with your inner ‘flower child,’ can have untold benefits in combating  stress and potentially improving daily life, memory, concentration and overall well-being.

I was introduced to bead meditation some years via after my yoga class, and have to say that I experienced many benefits of a daily five-minute practice. But lately, I have been too busy, too rushed to continue my practice. And now, as I face a stressful time in my life, I have once again turned to Bead meditation.

The practice can be done anyway and or anytime, as long as you can do it uninterrupted. Carry the beads in your bag and you can practise in those few minutes of down time, where you might be ordinarily checking social media on your phone, or whilst waiting in the car for someone, waiting for a bus/train, last thing before bed, even in the loo! For me, it seems to work best first thing in the morning, when I know that I should get up soon, but don’t want to, just yet.

meditation

 

Benefits I have enjoyed from Bead Meditation

  • Sense of Calm
  • Less anxiety
  • More control in crisis or stressful situations
  • Lower Blood pressure
  • More sustained attention span and improvement in effortless single focus concentration
  • Relaxed start to the day
  • Distractions from run-away thoughts or self-destructive negative thinking
  • Increased sense of compassion and empathy
  • Increased energy levels
  • Improved sense of well-being & self-esteem

The secret seems to be in keeping the mind busy on a single activity, and in doing so, worry and stress can not seep into your consciousness.  The mind will try to wander and intrusive thoughts will tug at you, and  if this happens, gently bring it back to the task at hand (sorry no pun intended there) Do this as often as you need.

“The mind is harder to control than the wind”, it was said. So now, not only can the mind be quieted by having something to do, the movement of your fingers on the beads, gives the body something to do and allows the body to feel more content and relaxed.

Prayer beads have a similar purpose, however this is more to do with religious devotion and counting prayers, which is not within my realm to recommend or discuss here. Rather than focusing on spiritual growth, secular meditation techniques such as this, emphasizes stress reduction, relaxation and self-improvement.

flowers

Wiki tells us, “Most of the ancient religions of the world have a tradition of using some type of prayer beads as tools in devotional meditation.[125][126][127] Most prayer beads and Christian rosaries consist of pearls or beads linked together by a thread.[125][126] The Roman Catholic rosary is a string of beads containing five sets with ten small beads. Each set of ten is separated by another bead. The Hindu japa mala has 108 beads, as well as those used in Jainism and Buddhist prayer beads.[128] Each bead is counted once as a person recites a mantra until the person has gone all the way around the mala, which is counted as 100, with an extra 8 there to compensate for missed beads.[128] The Muslim mishbaha has 99 beads. Specific meditations of each religion may be different.”

Method

Start with the head bead ( the one that is large and different) and start chanting a mantra of choice ( samples shown below), and with each repetition, move your fingers along to the next bead, and repeat, until you are completely round the circle. If you have time, reverse and do the same back to the head bead again. This depends on how quickly or how slowly you chant the mantra. Choose a mantra that speaks to you.

You only have to say the mantra loud enough for you to hear. It is not necessary to sing it, or say it loudly. Don’t worry so much about your breathing technique; it is not so important in this form of meditation.

Mantras

The eternal wisdom contained in the yoga texts explains that a ‘mantra’ is a spiritual sound vibration that purifies one’s consciousness and brings about ever-increasing spiritual insight and happiness. When performed as a group, you can really feel that vibration!!

 

  • Gauranga
  • Nityananda
  • Om Hari Om
  • Gopala
  • Govinda
  • Chaitanya Nityananda Gaurhari
  • Gopala Govinda Rama Madana Mohana
  • Haribol Nitagaur Nitaigaur Haribol
  • Madana Mohana Murari
  • Haribol Haribol Haribol

waterlilly - Copy

The following passage, from Wiki illuminates the scientific basis for claiming health benefits of meditation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meditation

Scientific Evidence to Support Benefits

 A study of college students by Oman et al. (2008) found that meditation may produce physiological benefits by changing neurological processes. This finding was supported by an expert panel at the National Institutes of Health. The practice of meditation has also been linked with various favourable outcomes that include: “effective functioning, including academic performance, concentration, perceptual sensitivity, reaction time, memory, self-control, empathy, and self-esteem.”(Oman et al., 2008, pg. 570) In their evaluation of the effects of two meditation-based programs they were able to conclude that meditating had stress reducing effects and cogitation, and also increased forgiveness. (Oman et al., 2008)

Li Chuan Chu (2009), found that meditation enhances overall psychological health and preserves a positive attitude towards stress. (Chu, 2009)

Mindfulness Meditation has now entered the health care domain because of evidence suggesting a positive correlation between the practice and emotional and physical health.

Examples of such benefits include: reduction in stress, anxiety, depression, headaches, pain, elevated blood pressure, etc. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts found that those who meditated approximately half an hour per day during an eight week period reported that at the end of the period, they were better able to act in a state of awareness and observation. Respondents also said they felt non-judgmental. (Harvard’s Women’s Health Watch, 2011)

“Meditation as Medicine” (American Academy of Neurology) [150] cites scientific evidence from various studies which claim that meditation can increase attention span, sharpen focus, improve memory, and dull the perception of pain.

A review of scientific studies identified relaxation, concentration, an altered state of awareness, a suspension of logical thought and the maintenance of a self-observing attitude as the behavioral components of meditation;[67] it is accompanied by a host of biochemical and physical changes in the body that alter metabolism, heart rate, respiration, blood pressure and brain activation.[46][152]

Meditation has been used in clinical settings as a method of stress and pain reduction. Meditation has also been studied specifically for its effects on stress.

 

Some people feel meditation is an alien concept and take it like they would a bitter pill, while others embrace it wholeheartedly. Are they the less stressed?

It will be something I shall ponder about what you make of it.

schnauzer at beach

 

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About Forestwoodfolk

Scandinavian culture, literature and traditions are close to my heart, even though I am Australian. I have Scandinavian, Frisian and Prussian/Silesian ancestry and for that reason, I feel a connection with that part of the world. I am an avid Nordic Crime fiction reader, and enjoy photography, writing and a variety of cooking and crafts, and traditional decorative art forms. Politically aware and egalitarian by nature, I have a strong environmental bent.
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18 Responses to Ways to Reduce Stress

  1. You are preaching to the choir here. 😉 I am a firm believer in meditation and am taking January as a mini meditation retreat at home. I will spend some part of every day in meditation not as much for stress relief but to bring my body back to balance. You are correct about all the things it can do and there are probably more. I do a walking meditation as well as when I garden. I often put earphones on so people think I’m listening to something. I’m just downing out the outside chatter and listening to my heartbeat or breathing. It’s a habit I want to cultivate again. Kind of like eating chocolate everyday. 🙂 Or having a glass of wine but without the calories. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • A very good way to get the most out of meditation, Marlene. Some try out once or twice and say that it is not for them. But when the benefits kick in they can be truly wonderful. And so worth the effort.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have not tried the beading but it sounds as if could help to calm down. Interesting indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Ways to Reduce Stress — Something to Ponder About – Freelance Suman D.

  4. Leya says:

    I have tried meditation – but maybe have not used it long enough. But I return to it when I feel I need it.

    Like

  5. I will have to look for some beads! Gardening and cooking are my favorite ways to meditate. And sitting outside in the summer watching the forest behind us leaves me feeling like a whole new person every time. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gardening and cooking are really satisfying pursuits, In cahoots! I so enjoy sitting out on a balmy evening if it is not too hot with the greenery around me, or a cup of tea around mid morning. It sets me up in a happy mood for the day. It is time to absorb the smells, sights and sounds of nature, which are always both energizing and relaxing at the same time.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I so agree with you! Nature almost always makes me feel better and grounded. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  6. reocochran says:

    I believe in meditation and prayer. I feel faith of any kind connects hearts and lives across the world. One with each variation of God. . . Love eternal. I found a few of your lovely comments last January.
    I apologize for “dropping the ball,” but part of this is finding lost bloggers along my journey. Blessings and peace to you. 🙏 💞 Robin

    Like

  7. Chris Riley says:

    I need to both meditate, and practice yoga more often, and more consistently. I practice both for around three months regularly, and then fall off the wagon for way too long. The beads sound lik3 a great idea.

    Like

    • It is something we can always come back to, Chris. I think we need this kind of supportive exercise more at some times in our lives, than at others. I like the beads because they are so portable, and much better to meditate on them when we have a few moments spare, than scroll through social media on technology, don’t you think?

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    • Chris Riley says:

      Absolutely. Social media is like an addictive drug sometimes, and almost as harmful.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting you say that, Chris. I guess it is too early to have hard evidence of this. I as guilty as young people as wanting to be connected, but I refuse to be a slave to the mobile phone. It is so easy to just keep scrolling when there is nothing pressing to do at home. Many more productive pursuits seem to be set aside or never touched now, in the quest for improved communication between people and groups. And here am I chatting with you. The internet is both wonderful and earth-changing. I am thinking of using a timer to restrict continual social media use.

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