Help for STRESS


Meditation Upon Waking Up
Meditation For Waiting
Meditation For Bedtime
Three Steps to Stress Management
Meditation & Heart Disease (by Dr. Ornish)

Heart Helps Message Board

Some cultures believe that everything is a meditation. They are fully mindful when they eat, drink, walk, pet an animal, or any other activity. Other cultures are at the opposite end of the spectrum, eating without tasting anything as they speed down the highway, or racing out of the house to start the day without paying any attention to their inner self. For people living in those cultures, a meditation exercise may be helpful in reducing stress levels and to re-center or re-focus oneself in the midst of a tornado of to-do lists, concerns and worries. They may be done alone or in conjunction with a relaxation exercise or a breathing exercise.

This article discusses some basic meditation exercises that anyone can do to lower their stress levels and improve their health. A more structured form of meditation called Transcendental Meditation has also shown heart health benefits. (NOTE FROM LEE: I use TM and if anyone is interested I will walk you through the basic steps, part of my education was devoted to Eastern Religion--email )

For example, a 2000 article published in STROKE revealed that this form of meditation slightly but significantly reduced plaque build-up, which lowered the risk of both stroke and heart attack. People interested in learning this form of meditation are encouraged to find a local class or to find an instructive book or videotape on the subject.

Which meditation exercise can be done upon waking up?

When people are in love or feeling happy, it can seem like everything goes smoothly through the day. Even minor disappointments or challenges are met with enthusiasm without affecting one’s overall good mood. This is an example of how much the attitude you adopt as you start the day has to do with how well your day actually turns out to be. If people wake up thinking how terrible the day is going to be, or how awful it is that they need to get up, then they will more easily be upset by small events that occur over the course of the day. If people wake up with enthusiasm and happiness, then they are less vulnerable to being upset by minor disappointments or setbacks. In other words, they are less likely to feel stressed.

A meditation exercise can be helpful in starting the day in a healthy, strong, enthusiastic frame of mind. It can be done while still lying in bed after the alarm has gone off, or between the time the snooze button was hit and the time the alarm goes off again.

The steps for this exercise are as follows:

Which meditation exercise can be done while waiting? Waiting can be very stressful. Take the following examples:

During these stressful periods of waiting, it can be helpful to do a meditation exercise that relieves stress rather than allowing it to get worse as time ticks by. Getting stressed out will not help any of the above situations, and is often harmful. Therefore, people are encouraged to try a meditation exercise such as the following:

Meditation at Bedtime:

Each step of this exercise can be done while lying in bed. The steps are as follows:

This information is courtesy of



Basic stress management techniques include getting enough sleep and exercising regularly. Exercise has been shown to decrease the amount of stress hormones that are released in response to stress (see effects of stress on the body). It is also important to eat a balanced diet that is high in vitamin C and low in both caffeine and sugar. Although it is important for each person to find a set of techniques that work best for him or her, the following three steps can also offer some helpful guidance when stressors arise.

Step 1: Relax in a healthy way
It is much harder to respond to a challenge when stress is interfering with clear thinking, so relaxation is the first step in stress management. Healthy strategies for relaxation include the following:

It is important to understand the difference between the healthy strategies listed above and unhealthy strategies. Unhealthy strategies include the overuse of alcohol, the overuse of either illegal or prescription drugs, smoking, overeating, violence, and yelling at or verbally abusing others. These strategies are only temporarily effective at best, and tend to create more problems than those that were present in the first place.

Step 2: Identify the problem
The better you know the stressors that can affect you, the more effective you will be in combating them. Sometimes the problem is obvious, such as when someone is feeling stressed about moving. At other times, people are simply feeling stressed in the middle of a workday and are not sure why. When the source of the stress is unclear, it may be helpful to make a list of one’s daily activities and keep a log of events that trigger stress reactions. After a week, the log can be examined for any patterns that may be present. If it is still difficult to identify the source of the problem, counseling may be helpful in identifying what may be triggering the stress. Although people may be unaware of it, emotional responses are often triggered in the present because of events that occurred in the past. Learning about those past events and how they still affect the present can be very helpful in managing stress.

Step 3: Address the problem
Basically, people are faced with one of two options: changing the situation or learning to accept it without feeling stress. This idea has been stated in the form of the famous Serenity Prayer:

“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Examples of managing stress by making changes include the following:

With practice, these stress management techniques help people to gain control over stress, instead of allowing stress to gain control over them.

Information adopted from


An interesting question, answered by Dr. Dean Ornish:

Question: Do you know of any research findings on how meditation affects the heart and blood pressure? It doesn't have to be specific to heart patients.

Answer from Dr. Ornish: Meditation is great for your heart, as well as for the rest of your body. Meditation can take you to a deeper state of relaxation that is more profound even than sleeping. This deep relaxation allows the heart to begin healing. Your body is designed or has evolved to deal with intermittent stresses, not the chronic, relentless stresses that are so common in everyday life in the 1990's. Many people find that they never really get a chance to recover from one stress before they're hit with another. Because of this, the stress mechanisms that are supposed to help you survive may actually threaten your survival.

For example, your blood clots faster and your arteries constrict during times of stress. This gives you a survival advantage if you are wounded in battle or bitten by a tiger, since you won't bleed as much. If these mechanisms are chronically activated, though, the arteries in your heart may constrict and blood clots may form there, both of which may lead to a heart attack.

As the pace of life becomes faster and faster, it seems that we have less and less time to relax. Meditation helps to break this harmful cycle. Even your heart rests between beats.

Many studies have documented that the regular practice of meditation may lower blood pressure, reduce the frequency of irregular heart beats, and even lower cholesterol levels independent of diet. Meditation is an important part of my program for reversing heart disease.

People who lead busy lives often have a hard time meditating not only because of the time it takes but also because it looks like you're just sitting there doing nothing when there is so much other stuff to do. But meditation is a very active process and has extraordinary benefits.

Our URL is

Last Modified on October 16, 2001

Please note: We are not medical doctors
nor are we in the healthcare field!
Whatever you read here, or at any website
should not be misconstrued as medical advice.
ONLY your doctor can prescribe what is best for you.