How to Meditate to Lessen Stress and Increase Joy
Today we are going to talk about meditation for Christians, but before we jump into the conversation….
Take a comfy seat, bring your hands together in prayer position, close your eyes. Inhale slowly through the nose, letting your belly expand like a balloon and filling your lungs all the way to your collarbones. Next, exhale slowly through your nose, drawing your naval toward your spine to completely empty your lungs.
Repeat 3 times.
Don’t you feel better? Me, too! Now, take a moment to thank your Heavenly Father for the gift of breath and the way he designed our bodies to calm ourselves down by using it.
The other day a Ted Talk video popped up in my Facebook feed about what stress does to the brain.
(Here is the link to Prairie Blessings Holy Yoga where I posted the video if you would like to watch it. While you are there, would you “like” my page? Thanks so much! The more likes on a page, the more Facebook algorithms actually show it. I think. Lol!)
Surprise. The effects of stress on the brain are not good.
As a matter of fact, chronic stress actually changes the size, the structure and the functionality of your BRAIN, people. No one wants that.
After scaring the stuffing out of us, the video explains two things that can help.
Exercise and meditation.
Holy Yoga, anyone? It is great exercise and the perfect way to add time for a dedicated meditation practice. You may be saying, hmmmm. The word “meditation” used to make me nervous, too.
I googled “meditation” and got 180,000,000 hits. What?
The World is obviously shouting about the benefits of meditation, and thinks it is something they invented.
But the World did Not.
Sidebar: It kind of reminds me of crocheting. My grandma crocheted up a storm, then my generation “discovered” it, and now the 20’s and 30 somethings have entire YouTube channels devoted to it as if it is a “new” creative art.
And just as the enemy is prone to do, he takes something God ordained and twists it into something different. I was in junior high at the end of the 1960’s and high school in the early 70’s, so my idea of meditation went toward the Transcendental kind.
Hello, mind altering drugs, flower children, hippies, and communes. “Come on baby, light my fire”, and all that.
As a person who has spent her entire life in church, going basically whenever the doors open, I don’t remember ever hearing a word about the how-to’s of meditation talked about in the Bible.
I did learn this verse……May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14 But no one ever told me HOW TO MEDITATE ON THE HOLY SCRIPTURE.
Maybe some automatically know how to do it, but that person is not me. And it may not be you, either.
I’ve spent many nights lying awake worry about things that aren’t my problem to solve, that I don’t even know all the facts about, and might not even happen anyway. This is a colossal waste of time and not honoring to God.
I’ve even prayed about them and then quickly picked up my virtual worry beads again.
I don’t want to live that way any more. How about you?
Going through the Holy Yoga training program has equipped me with meditation strategies, most of which I have not incorporated into my daily life. I plan to change that and invite you to join me. I’ll be sharing them with you from time to time. However, it seems that before we can meditate on the word, we need to know what it means.
The dictionary definition: the action and practice of meditating
Synonyms are contemplation, thought, thinking, musing, pondering, reflection, deliberation, rumination
Is the meaning starting to become more clear to you, too? But how to practically do it is the next question.
To make meditating on the word of God a practice in our lives, we have to start.
After a little brainstorming session, I came up with this list of tips to help us begin……
- Decide its important. There are at least 28 verses that mention it, so…..it is important.
- Choose a time. Consistency is the way to develop any habit. Meditation can be done any time and any place, but I personally desire a dedicated meditation time.
- Copy a verse, characteristic of God, or a scriptural truth that jumped out during Bible reading.
- Find a comfortable seated position.
- Start with prayer. Ask Holy Spirit to guide your thoughts.
- Practice focused breathing to calm the mind and body.
- Sit quietly, contemplating, musing, pondering and reflecting on the scripture.
- Start by setting a timer for 2 minutes, or whatever time seems appropriate for you, gradually building up the time spent.
- Journal what God is teaching you.
I need accountability, so I’m putting my plan out here for the world to read.
A morning person, my coffee and I have a standing early appointment with Jesus and my Bible. During my time in scripture, I will choose a verse to use in my meditation time and write it on a notecard. I love to follow up my quiet time with Holy Yoga, steeping in movement and Christian music. By this time, my mind is quiet and centered which will be a perfect time to insert meditation time.
Anyone with me? Let’s get closer to the Lord, take care of our bodies, and keep our brains intact. As we draw our focus away from ourselves and onto the ONE who LOVES US WITH UNFAILING LOVE, how can we help but be filled with the gift of JOY?
Perhaps you already have a meditation practice. Please share you tips and stories and encouragement in the comments!