3 effective ways to beat stress.

Personal Development skills for life.

Meditation skills by Alex Simring.

If you're new to meditation or want to find an effective life long strategy to manage stress levels, then you'll find the following three meditation techniques invaluable. Meditation is not a quick fix strategy, although some benefit will be immediately noticed by practitioners. There should be no mystery surrounding meditation. There are no particular rituals, rules or regulations that must be followed. Although there are many recommendations about what to wear, the time of the day, location or set up of the room, all of these things are highly flexible and dependent on the individual. The great thing about meditation is that it can be done at any time (while awake preferably!) and in almost any situation. That being said, to really get benefits from meditation, I recommend the following 3 tips.

1. Join a meditation group. There are probably many places locally that offer meditation for beginners classes. During classes an experienced meditation practitioner will guide the group through the basics of meditation. Although much of this can be garnered from a book, there is nothing like personal instruction when it comes to meditation. You will be guided through the basics of what meditation is, what to wear, how to sit, and most importantly how to meditate. Most introductory classes last for 6-8 weeks. Signing up for the whole course and attending every session may allow an important new habit to form.

2. Try these meditation techniques. Meditation often involves sitting still. The mind should be still, and this is sometimes referred to as " no mind". This will be difficult to achieve in the initial stages, so focus on these techniques of meditation first. Start off by focussing the mind on the body and all bodily sensations. How does the body feel while sitting. Run awareness over all parts of the body. Pay attention to the individual senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste. Whenever thoughts creep in, just gently bring awareness back to the body. Focusing on the breath is a common way of bringing the mind to stillness. Counting the breath from one to ten is a good place to start. Inhale, Exhale count 1, Inhale, Exhale count 2...Repeat from one to ten for 10-15 minutes. Whenever the mind wanders, gently bring focus back to counting the breath. Some wonderful thoughts will arise while counting, and some thoughts will be very tempting to follow. Bring awareness back to the breath, no matter how mundane or how life shattering any thoughts may be.

3. Develop a regular daily meditation practise session. Without the regular reinforcement of daily practise, the full benefits of meditation can never be fully realised. Find 10-15 minutes a day to meditate. Waking up 15 minutes earlier than normal can be an excellent way to create time. The aim here is to form the new habit of sitting still every day. This is the most important thing to do while the introductory course is running, otherwise all new meditation skills will immediately cease upon cessation aforementioned introductory course!

Stilling the mind is a gradual process, but one well worth it. In this day and age of modern conveniences, instant gratification and information overload this is more essential than ever before. Stilling the mind can be achieved by focusing on one thing, such as counting the breath. Once the mindless chatter has ceased, one's true nature will start to come through. The superficial layers which have been artificially created by society's expectations of how to live and by self delusions of the ego will slowly start to peel away like the layers of an onion, leaving behind the true core of our essential being. I'm interested to see what's left behind when all the junk has been stripped away.