How to Relieve Stress With Bathtub Meditation

woman meditating in the bathtub

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Meditation is a powerful stress reliever and a habit that can lead to resilience to stress and increased inner peace. While this may not come as a surprise, if you're like most people, you're aware that meditation can be helpful but you have trouble making it a daily habit—life gets in the way! This is okay to an extent; practicing meditation once can be helpful. However, to gain the full benefit of meditation in terms of creating resilience and a lasting sense of peace, it should be practiced regularly.

There are many different ways to experience the benefits of meditation, and having more options at your disposal can mean that the practice is easier to maintain on a regular basis. One soothing method is to meditate in the bath.

Steps and Tips for Performing a Bathtub Meditation

A bath meditation combines the standard benefits of meditation with the benefits of a relaxing, hot bath, which can soothe tired muscles, provide a calming atmosphere, and allow a temporary feeling of escape from stressors. This is a habit that's easy to practice on a nightly basis. How do you make a bath meditation effective? Here are some things to keep in mind.

Make Time

Block off at least 15 minutes where you won’t be interrupted. That means creating a few extra minutes in your schedule, putting the phone straight to voicemail, telling others in your household not to disturb you unless it’s an emergency.

Whatever you need to do to set personal boundaries and block off the time, it should be worth the effort. 

Use Aromatherapy Bath Products

As you run the bath, you may want to incorporate some of the benefits of aromatherapy by using bubble-bath or bath oils scented with lavender (shown to be relaxing), peppermint (if you want to feel more alert), or another scent that you really like (studies show that subjectively pleasing scents bring stress relief benefits, too). This way you can add another layer of stress relief with no additional effort.

Get in and Relax

Let your breathing become slower and deeper, allowing your belly to rise and fall with each breath (instead of your shoulders or chest). This type of breathing is more natural and can help pacify your body's natural stress response in case it's still activated from the day.

Focus on Sensations

Now just focus on the sensations you feel in your body—the warmth of the water on your skin, the pressure of the tub against your back—and when your mind drifts from the present moment and those physical sensations, without judgment notice where your attention has gone and bring it back to the physical sensations in your body.

Allow your attention to continue to rest the present moment and when you notice you've drifted, gently bring your mind back

Stay In The Present

If you find thoughts of the past, the future, or any form of internal dialogue happening, gently redirect your attention to the present moment. Continue for several minutes, and you should feel soothed and relaxed quickly.


  • If you’re new to meditation, you may want to try the meditation part of it for 5 or 10 minutes at first and work your way up. (Time spent in the tub—in meditation or not—should still be relaxing enough.)
  • If you find it difficult to keep your mind completely clear, you may want to try a mantra meditation. This is a form of meditation where you focus on silently repeating or chanting a sound or phrase over and over. Closing your eyes while you meditate may help you keep your attention focused on your mantra rather than your surroundings. You can also try it with your eyes open and resting on a single focal point. It can be a nice alternative for those who become frustrated by a mental voice that wants to keep talking.
  • You can also add music as a focal point for your meditation with the Musical Bath Meditation. This can increase your relaxation, as music brings its own benefits for stress management.

If you're really tired, you may want to choose a different type of meditation—you don't want to risk falling asleep in the tub.

A Word From Verywell

Experimenting with different types of meditation can help you to find multiple favorite stress relief strategies, and can make it easier to make meditation an ongoing habit, reaping the resiliency benefits in the process.

2 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Cho MY, Min ES, Hur MH, Lee MS. Effects of aromatherapy on the anxiety, vital signs, and sleep quality of percutaneous coronary intervention patients in intensive care units. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:381381. doi:10.1155/2013/381381

  2. Thoma MV, La Marca R, Brönnimann R, Finkel L, Ehlert U, Nater UM. The effect of music on the human stress response. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(8):e70156. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0070156

By Elizabeth Scott, PhD
Elizabeth Scott, PhD is an author, workshop leader, educator, and award-winning blogger on stress management, positive psychology, relationships, and emotional wellbeing.