You might not believe me, because it sort of sounds wacky, but stress has a physical effect on my body. My joint pain flares up like crazy if I am under a lot of stress. If I get into a huge argument or something, the joints in my hands and knees with blow up the next day. It's pretty crazy, if you think about it. Anyway, to avoid this (and to keep a sliver of sanity), I try to be as stress-free as possible. I don't meditate at often as I should, but I try for a few times per week. Even just five minutes in the morning gets my day off on the right track.
The most transformative results, though, are when I sit down and try to meditate for just a short period when I'm in the middle of freaking out. Whether I'm stressed about upcoming travel plans, moving, or a major life event, it amazes me how just five minutes of meditation has the power to completely transform my mood and stress level. This isn't to say you should wait until you're having a total meltdown to meditate, but it's definitely a good way to turn things around. :)
I created this five minute guided meditation for stress relief with beginners in mind. There are lots of ways to meditate, but today I'm focusing on breath awareness. Our breath is basically the control center for how we feel. You'll notice that if you're anxious, the breath will be shallow and fast paced. If you're feeling tired and unmotivated, it'll be slow but generally shallow. So when we're able to just tune out all thoughts and just focus on the breath, we have the power to transform how we feel.