Looking for a science-backed tool for stress relief? Join me on this week’s episode of the Christian Mindset Coach as we discuss how calming meditations can help bring more peace into your mind and body, as well as how to implement Christian meditation into your busy life, and why meditation supercharges your growth with the Lord. My brand new resource, Christian Meditations for Daily Calm, was created with stress relief in mind and will bring you peace within a few minutes!
WHAT YOU’LL LEARN:
- [04:02] How Christian meditation renews our mind & the biological effects on the brain
- [10:09] Christian meditation’s positive impact on the body
- [14:59] How Christian meditation can help us grow spiritually + cultivate self-compassion
- [16:35] Using visualization in Christian meditation to understand biblical principles in a new way
- [20:45] How are these Christian Meditations for Daily Calm structured?
- [23:30] How to use Christian Meditations for Daily Calm in your busy life
[04:02] How Christian meditation renews our mind & the biological effects on the brain
Why is Christian meditation such a powerful tool for relaxing our thoughts and refocusing our minds on things other than the drama of the moment? For one, Christian meditation uses a tool called mindfulness, which simply means: keeping our minds focused on what's going on right now. We are allowing ourselves to become aware of the present moment instead of the past and the future by asking ourselves, what is my reality?
Of course, our greatest reality is our promises of God and that we are His children. We can get lost in all kinds of other stressors from the day, but when we bring our focus back, our reality is “I am loved, I'm cherished, I'm taken care of, I am watched by God, I am pursued by God.” All of the promises we have in Christ. It breaks that cycle of racing thoughts and allows us to focus on what is the reality of right now which renews our minds.
Christian meditation also allows us to become more self-aware of what we are thinking. I find that when I meditate on a verse and allow my mind to be still and focus on that concept, that is when I can hear the Spirit speak more clearly to me about some things in my body, life, or relationships that need some attention. I speak about emotions being “check engine lights” inside of us and I find that the check engine light goes off when I'm doing Christian meditation.
I came across a study that Harvard University conducted on meditation's impact on our ability to better manage our emotions. They took a group of people over eight weeks and had them do mindfulness-based meditation every day. They found that there was an increase in the cortical thickness of the hippocampus area of the brain. These people were more calm and able to handle the emotions that came up. We know from the concept of neuroplasticity that our brain is always moving toward what it’s focusing on. There are always new neurons that are introduced and are going to be used on what is already being reinforced and strengthened in the mind.
Imagine if we could renew our mind as the Bible speaks of, as we're renewing and changing these brain patterns on a structural level! Not only are we enjoying these physiological benefits that the Harvard researchers discovered, we are also changing how the brain absorbs and can hold onto things like truths about our identity, biblical truths, and how that changes our connection to God. Meditation can also help our minds with memory loss, concentration, and anxiety. Some studies were done on elderly people that showed that meditation had allowed their brains to be able to hold on to memories longer.
People with generalized anxiety disorder were also shown a reduction of symptoms by using mindfulness meditation. In Christian meditation, we are focusing on the full reality of who we are, beyond our day-to-day circumstances.
[10:09] Christian meditation’s positive impact on the body
One of the biggest ways that meditation affects our body is that it turns on the parasympathetic nervous system. Within our nervous system, there are two operating states: sympathetic mode & parasympathetic mode. The sympathetic mode is the “fight or flight” or high-stress mode. The parasympathetic mode is the “rest & digest” mode (the normal homeostasis that we're designed to stay at). We always want to try to move our bodies towards the parasympathetic system, and Christian meditation is an excellent way to allow our body to get into that state.
Meditation is also helpful because it reduces the amount of cortisol (the stress hormone) in our bodies. There was a study done by the University of Wisconsin where they found that meditation lowered the amount of inflammatory chemicals that were in the bloodstream over eight weeks. Again, this is a powerful example of the parasympathetic nervous system in action: reducing cortisol and the amount of inflammatory chemicals. Meditation can also help our brain by going from high alert brain waves to the slower more relaxed brain waves that are associated with rest. Meditation has also been found to reduce blood pressure.
[14:59] How Christian meditation can help us grow spiritually + cultivate self-compassion
Meditation is not the only way to grow in our relationship with God. We also have prayer, fasting, reading God's word, and journaling a Bible verse. What I love about Christian meditation is that we're infusing God's word into our entire being. We are allowing ourselves to develop some of the characteristics that we need to grow in godliness. Focusing on God's word allows us to slow down to notice what's happening inside of us. Part of that noticing is being with God in Christian meditation, noticing His spirit, and noticing the truth – in light of what we're feeling.
When we do that, we can develop compassion for ourselves. We need to have compassion for ourselves to process our emotions and have compassion for others. Being able to hear God say, “I understand. I'm with you in this.” in meditation can help us say, “It makes sense why I'm feeling like this” instead of shutting ourselves down.
[16:35] Using visualization in Christian meditation to understand biblical principles in a new way
I also love how Christian meditation allows us to understand biblical principles in a new way. Sometimes it can feel like we have heard a verse a thousand times, we don’t understand it fully, or it's hard to imagine how it can apply. One of the reasons why the meditations in Christian Meditations for Daily Calm are very helpful is because they include visualizations.
For example, if we are talking about letting go of something that has been burdening us, there might be a visualization where we're asking ourselves to imagine we are at the edge of a peaceful and calming stream. We notice that Christ is there with us, encouraging us to pick up a stone. Then He asks us to imagine all of the stress, worries, and fears that we're feeling and infuse them into the stone. Then put it in the river to let it be released and flow down the river. Being able to let go in a very tangible way is so important and effective. Letting go of our worries through this period of meditation, while including Bible verses is quite powerful.
Meditation is also shown to be able to help us step into God's peace. Isaiah 26:3 says, “He will keep in perfect peace, all whose thoughts are fixed on Him.” So when we fix our thoughts on God, He is allowing us to keep our thoughts in a peaceful state. And everything that we do in Christian Meditations for Daily Calm is about fixing our thoughts on God's word. We’re inviting in calm by fixing our thoughts on His promises, knowing they are true, and being able to think about them regularly. We have tangible things to focus on like God’s truth instead of fear and worry. We get to experience ongoing peace.
We are all looking for ways to make God's word more permanently established in our hearts and thoughts, whether that's through scripture memorization or ongoing Bible study. Christian meditation is an excellent way to do that.
Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” When we are hiding His word in our hearts, it helps prevent sin and changes us towards Godliness. Meditation is an opportunity for us to stay connected, understand, and embody those biblical truths inside of our minds at will.
Using meditation to stay focused on God's word is an excellent way to connect with Him and keep Him close to us. Psalm 1:1-3 talks about how when we meditate on God's Word day and night, it's like we're a tree sitting by the riverbank, absorbing all of the good nutrients that come by in the water. When we can regularly spend time meditating, allowing that to change who we are, it's gonna keep us strong in Him. Christian meditation might not be the only way to connect with God, but it is a very powerful way.
[20:45] How are these Christian Meditations for Daily Calm structured?
One of the biggest challenges with meditation is that it can be hard to do on our own, especially if we haven’t done it before. We can sit there, grab a verse, and think about it but it can be a challenge, because we don’t always know what we are supposed to do. It can be really helpful to have a series of prompts, a video, or audio that can guide you through it. That's why I put together Christian Meditations for Daily Calm.
I wanted to make it simple for anyone to be able to say, “Okay, this is what I'm struggling with today…what verse can I meditate on? What can I think about? And how can I be led through that process in a way that's going to allow me to absorb what I'm thinking about and bring more calm.”
I found that doing some breathing exercises at the beginning of meditation is very helpful to center our thoughts, calm us down, and kick on the parasympathetic nervous system. Next we read a verse and an affirmation statement. This gives us something to hold onto to absorb the verse and repeat to ourselves throughout the day. After this, we move on to visualization. That's where we take the concept and put some flesh on it in terms of how it can be lived out and interacted with.
After the visualization, we spend time sitting in the presence of the Lord and focusing on something that we are grateful for. How does this change where we are at? How are we going to move forward in our day? This is why Christian meditation is so powerful because it gives us that little stopping break in between the craziness of the day and allows us to focus on God's word. Then we can enter back into the situation with a completely different mindset.
[23:30] How to use Christian Meditations for Daily Calm in your busy life
The meditations in Christian Meditations for Daily Calm are only 4-5 minutes long. We would all love to be able to have an hour to meditate in the morning and an hour to meditate before bed but the reality is we are all busy and need something practical. There are 30 different meditations and they are all related to things that we are struggling with.
You can use these Christian meditations:
- Throughout the day when you need to know that God is going to give you the strength to get through a difficult situation
- When you need to find God's peace out through something hard
- When you need to know you're not alone in your circumstance
You can pick these Christian meditations out individually or go from day 1 to day 30. It’s a great way to start your day, end your night, or use in the middle of a stressful day. It's a way to allow your mind to continue to absorb God's Word in only a few minutes. We all need more practical tools for stress relief and to be able to grow in Christ.
You can find a sample on the Christian Meditations for Daily Calm page to try out today!
Make sure to tune in next week where I give you 15 different ways that you can add meditation into your already busy schedule! I believe that anyone can do these meditation exercises every day. This is something that's an investment in you so you can learn how to take care of yourself to maintain and show up the way God wants you to.
OTHER RELATED EPISODES:
Need a simple, biblical way to manage overwhelm + stress?
We know God offers peace, but…it's so hard to quiet our racing thoughts when life is chaotic.
Here's the great news: Christian meditation is a scientifically proven tool to soothe the nerves + connect with God to restore the soul.
Learn how to tap into God's peace in minutes with the Christian Meditations for Daily Calm: 30 meditation videos on Bible verses to refresh your mind + dwell in God's peace when life is stressful.
Get access to these Christian meditations now and enjoy this practical way to lower stress!