Meditation can be great for stress relief and as a prayer practice. I like to choose a short scripture or phrase and connect it with my breath. Lately I have been praying "light" on the inhale and "darkness" on the exhale. Filling up with Christ's light and exhaling, letting go of darkness. This is also my prayer, to be a light in the darkness.
One I have used in class comes from "Create in my a clean heart oh God, renew a right spirit within me." (Psalm 51:10)
This one can be done two ways - using the entire verse (inhaling first half, exhaling second half) or just the main idea: Inhale "clean heart" exhale "right spirit."
Another idea to just practice an even breath with names of God.
I usually close my eyes for each of these, but a candle is a good visual focus if that is helpful to you. The idea is to create space for God's peace.
I am so glad you asked this. Meditation gets a bad rap sometimes, but it is a wonderful practice that can help center our hearts on Christ. The stress relief is a major bonus!
When we practice a calming breath, with a breath prayer or focus word on our mats, it becomes easier to get to this calm place when stress/anxiety strike. Return to the breath and the prayer and your body/mind/heart will go to that calm space, too.
Any other ideas out there??
"So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away, see, everything has become new!"
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NRSV)