Strategies for Staying Sane: Meditation: Part 2

Dr. Clifford N. Lazarus


Terry entered the office, presented himself to the secretary, and sat down to await his appointment with the boss. As he waited, be closed his eyes briefly, and he used the rapid meditation method he had learned. Even after less than half a minute he felt himself feeling calm and well-prepared for the meeting.


So, how does one meditate? Basically, here’s how it’s done.

The first step is to

  • get into a comfortable and relaxing position.

This can be sitting up, reclining, or lying down, as long as the position is comfortable for you.


  • breathe deeply and evenly.

Instead of expanding your chest, let your abdomen rise when you inhale and fall when you exhale. Let the air flow in and out with as little effort as possible making sure not to breathe more deeply than you can comfortably manage.

You would then

  • think of a neutral or pleasant sounding word preferably with two syllables.

Just about any word will do as long as it does not conjure up any negative or emotionally unsettling association. This is what is called the mantra and it’s what one focuses on during meditation.

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Let’s use the word “relax” as our sample mantra. Once comfortable and breathing easily,

  • think or silently say to yourself the first syllable (“re”) as you inhale.
  • As you exhale, think the second syllable (“lax”).

The mantra is silently chanted during the entire inhalation-exhalation cycle.

While relaxing, and focusing on the rhythmic chanting of the mantra in cycle with your breathing,

  • let your thoughts and mental pictures float passively through the window of your consciousness.

Don’t push away or hold onto any particular thoughts or images no matter what they may be. Just let any and all thoughts come and go without any conscious interference and try to do this for about ten to twenty minutes without interruption.

• If at any time you realize you’ve stopped chanting the mantra, just pick it up again.

Think “reeee-laaaax, reeee-laaaax,” in rhythm with your breathing.

Some people prefer to practice mini-meditations —- three to five minutes —- several times a day. You need to experiment to determine what suits you best.


Dr. Clifford N. Lazarus is a licensed psychologist, Co-founder and Clinical Director of The Lazarus Institute. In addition to his general psychotherapy practice, Dr. Clifford Lazarus specializes in health and neuropsychology.

Dr. Clifford Lazarus received his B.A., M.S., and Ph.D. in psychology from Rutgers University where he was a Henry Rutgers Research Scholar.  Seen here are excerpts from one of his books, The 60-Second Shrink – 101 Strategies For Staying Sane In a Crazy World, a book, he co-authored with his father “One of the ten most influential psychotherapists in America”  Arnold A. Lazarus, Ph.D.  For more details on Dr. Clifford Lazarus visit this link to The Lazarus Institute.  Or visit his page here on

Books available at Amazon by Arnold and Clifford Lazarus

Direct links to two highly recommended books by Dr. Clifford Lazarus & Dr. Arnold A. Lazarus:

The 60-Second Shrink: 101 Strategies for Staying Sane in a Crazy World 

Don’t Believe It for a Minute!: Forty Toxic Ideas That Are Driving You Crazy

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