Meditation for stress relief: Techniques and tips

I love reading the works of Robert Sapolsky, but I love the title of his book Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers, even more. It’s so relevant – we humans are doing something seriously wrong because we’re all in a state of stress, nearly all the time.


In some situations, stress is beneficial; a moderate level of stress can improve your cognitive function and help you perform better in challenging situations. The "Yerkes-Dodson Law," suggests that, up to a certain point, performance increases with physiological or mental arousal. Beyond that point, performance begins to decrease. So, a little bit of stress is a good thing…if it's managed properly!

Finding the sweet spot between the beneficial level of stress and stomach ulcer levels of stress is difficult; that’s why so many of us fail. What are some of the things that cause you the most stress, and how do you typically cope with that stress? From my experience, we all know the things that cause us stress but we either don’t know or don’t have the time for the things that help us cope with the stress. So it builds and builds, generally affecting you in ways you might not even notice. The unlucky ones will experience burnout and find themselves forced to stop.

Meditation is a simple and effective way to relieve your stress daily. In addition, you should deal with the root cause of your stress, prioritise nutrition and ensure you’re getting adequate sleep and movement.

Meditation techniques

When you meditate your brain moves into a beneficial state. You’ll feel calm, relaxed, and focused. With continued practice, you’ll learn how to feel fully in control of your thoughts and improve your interoception. You’ll know how to listen to your body and therefore when to take a break from something destructive. Meditation is not only a learned skill but a form of training. Much like any form of muscle training, you’ll only see improvements after a period of regular practice.

The classic image of meditation is a person sitting cross-legged with their fingers in the Gyan Mudra loop. The purpose of this position is to create a never-ending loop, sealing your internal energy and encouraging a flow of prana (vital life force) and balance throughout your practice. It is a nice thing to do, however, it is not necessary. If you feel more comfortable laying on your bed or sitting on your sofa- go ahead. What's important to your meditation practice is that you do it in an environment in which you feel safe and free from distraction.

Body scan

Many people meditate with a mantra or use their breath to maintain focus. By repeating a mantra or focusing on the breath it helps to keep the mind clear. Another form of meditation is a body scan. Typically you’ll start at the top of your head and move down your body to the tip of your toes. As you focus your mind on each part of your body, take as much time as you can to notice the sensations you feel. Some people like to include a progressive relaxation. To do this you actively relax each part of your body before you move on to the next part.

Active meditation

If you experienced feelings of relief when you learned you don’t need to sit crossed-legged like a crab – I can only imagine how you’ll feel when you learn that you don’t need to stay still either! You can meditate whilst moving too. Meditation is a mind state. One that you can achieve whilst working out or strolling through the forest. If your home environment isn’t conducive to meditation, or you feel uncomfortable whilst still, try active meditation. It’s important you remain undistracted, so keep away from other people and your phone. Try to keep your focus on your breathing or a mantra as with sitting meditation. Allow yourself to merge into the natural environment that surrounds you, if possible.

Meditation and mindfulness

Meditation and mindfulness are sometimes, incorrectly used synonymously. Meditation is a technique to enhance a mindful mindset. Mindfulness is a lifestyle that means to keep your mind in the present moment, without judgement of your thoughts and feelings. Meditation will help you live mindfully. When you live mindfully, you’ll find yourself more able to step away from destructive, stressful environments and lean into the positive ones.  Attempt to meditate daily, for a minimum of ten minutes. This will reduce your stress overall and help you cope with the stress you cannot eliminate.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Hypnotherapy Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

Share this article with a friend
Farnham GU9 & GU10
Written by Juliet Hollingsworth, MSc
Farnham GU9 & GU10

Juliet is a trauma-informed therapist. Her passion is helping people reach their potential through a combination of hypnotherapy, psychotherapy and transpersonal psychology. Juliet works online and face to face with clients across the world. (DHP Clinical Hypnotherapy & Psychotherapy. MSc Consciousness, Spirituality & Transpersonal psychology.)

Show comments

Find a hypnotherapist dealing with Stress

All therapists are verified professionals

All therapists are verified professionals