For exclusive access to all our stories, including sequences, teacher tips, video classes, and more, join Outside+ today.
These are extreme and uncertain times. From global pandemics to natural disasters and downsizing, we have more than enough to process. Finding a moment to take care of your mental health can make all of the difference. Get started here with this simple mudra-based, hypnosis-inspired meditation practice.
A 30-Minute Meditation for Stress Reduction
Memorize the following steps or record them on your smartphone to listen to later. After you have gone through them, you can use the feeling of calmness that follows to enter hypnosis.
1. If possible, sit in a reclining chair or comfortable high-backed chair with support for your arms, hands, neck, and head. Choose a comfortable position with your feet flat on the floor and your legs and arms uncrossed. Loosen your clothing. You may prefer to remove contact lenses or glasses.
2. Set aside at least 30 minutes to do this exercise without being interrupted.
3. Choose something that is the opposite of your problem. For instance, if your problem is anxiety about you job status, your goal and key phrase might be “it will turn out ok” or “relax now.” You can repeat this statement slowly as you close your eyes, so that the key word becomes associated with deep relaxation.
4. Take several deep breaths and allow yourself to slip into a deeper and deeper relaxation. Breathe deeply all the way down into your abdomen and feel the spreading sense of relaxation as you exhale.
5. Touch your thumb to your index finger. As you do that, go back to a time when your body felt healthy fatigue, such as just after swimming, playing tennis, jogging, or some other exhilarating physical activity.
6. Touch your thumb to your middle finger. As you do that, go back to a time when you had a loving experience. You may choose to remember a moment of sexual fulfillment, a warm embrace, or an intimate conversation.
7. Touch your thumb to your ring finger. As you do that, recall the nicest compliment you have ever received. Try to really accept it now. By accepting it, you are showing your high regard for the person who said it. You are really paying that person a compliment in return.
8. Touch your thumb to your little finger. As you do that, go back to the most beautiful place you have ever been. Dwell there for a while.
See also Mudras 101: Sacred Hand Gestures
The Anxiety First Aid Kit by Rick Hanson, PhD et al. Reprinted with permission: New Harbinger Publications, Inc. Copyright © 2020