5 Tips for lowering your stress

5 Tips for lowering your stress

Take control and add more “wow” to your life with these tips from master meditator William W. Blake.

The new year is underway. We’re diving in and putting our noses to the grindstone with a renewed sense of focus. Unfortunately, sometimes, focus comes with excessive, unnecessary stress.

To help you keep stress under control, here are some basic meditation tips from teacher and master meditator William W. Blake. Blake is the author of the new meditation book A Creative Toolkit of Meditations (Balboa Press), a guidebook designed to make meditation easily accessible to anyone.

Take note of your breath. By simply noticing our breathing, we become more mindful and stop beating ourselves up with negative thoughts about ourselves or someone else.

Whenever you experience a negative thought or feeling, breathe it in with a slow, expansive opening of your chest area. On the inhale, give yourself the affirmation: I am loved by the heart. On the exhale, offer the affirmation: I love the heart. Rest in silence for a moment and repeat with a couple in-and-out breaths, until the negative thought dissipates.

For a more sophisticated and powerful breathing meditation, in-breathe the negative thought or emotion with a slow, wide opening of the chest area. Exhale slowly and deeply while thinking I am the awareness or witness observing you.

Positive thoughts tend to hatch more positive thoughts. When you have a negative thought, actively replace it with a positive one. For example:

I feel guilt because I haven’t exercised enough.

Replacement: I work out for an hour at the gym six days a week. Screw you, guilt.

Be patient. There’s no way to estimate how much time it will take to see results. You could choose two meditations, practice them for years and notice little to no change. Then one day you sneeze and, suddenly and completely, you know who and what you are and you have a sense of your larger purpose in life.

About the author
William W. Blake earned a B.A. in Sociology at the University of California at Berkeley and a Masters in Literature at San Francisco State University. For thirty-three years, he taught at a community college in an experiential and learner-centered fashion. In his last twenty years of instruction, over one hundred students published their research papers in recognized journals and magazines. Finding meditation a powerful source for transformative change, Blake has been involved in seven self-growth practices, including IAM Institute for Applied Meditation, Rinzai Zen koans, Vipassana meditation, Dogzen, and Eugene Gendlin’s Focusing.

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