There are many, many people around the world who are afflicted with anxiety. This could be in the form of an anxiety disorder, such as a panic disorder or Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or it could be situational anxiety, such as preparing yourself for a presentation or a doctor’s appointment. Just as there are many different reasons why someone might be feeling anxious, there are also many different ways that one can try and treat his or her own anxiety, both with medication and without medication.
If you are looking for a quick, simple, and medication-free way to try and take the edge off of your anxiety, you may want to consider meditation. Meditation has been a way that people have relieved stress, increased focus, and helped themselves out of problematic thinking for centuries, and arguably even for thousands of years. With enough time and practice, you can teach yourself how to meditate and take the worst of your anxiety away. In addition to this, some forms of meditation can even assist with rationalizing a fear-inducing situation, which will only serve to make things even easier for you as you try to conquer your anxiety.
When it comes to trying out meditation to soothe your own anxiety, there are two things that you will have to keep in mind. You will want to have at least a basic grasp on what kind of anxiety you have and how you tend to respond to stressful or anxiety-inducing situations. You will also want to be able to have a good idea of what forms of meditation are going to help you the most. Much like yoga, there are countless types of meditation that you can practice, with some types of meditation working better than others depending on what your own personal interests are. First things first though, you are going to want to create an atmosphere where you can easily begin practicing meditation for the sake of your own anxiety. At first, you may not be certain what you need to meditate on, so it will be best for you to set aside some time to see what you need to do to sufficiently help yourself out with meditation.
How Do You Prepare to Meditate?
While meditation is supposed to be like second nature to people, if you are someone who suffers from increased anxiety, then there is a very good chance that meditation is not going to be something that comes naturally to you. This is perfectly fine, and it simply means that you may have to work a little bit harder to create an environment where you can meditate properly. Preparing to meditate to help with anxiety specifically is not going to be much different than preparing to meditate for any other reason.
You will want to be in a calm and quiet environment, preferably one that you feel safe, calm, and comfortable in. This means that you shouldn’t try and meditate while your friends are calling you about Dwight Schrute and Dunder Mifflin, or when your roommate is asking you about how you cook beets to perfection. Instead, some of the most optimal places to include being in your room, in the bathroom, and on your back porch, assuming that you are not near a road.
Basic Meditation for People with Anxiety
When you are ready to begin meditation, you will want to begin by focusing on your surroundings, your sensations, and anything else that is physical that you can touch. This is part of a commonly practiced adaptation method that is known as grounding. “Grounding” is something that people who have a tendency to dissociate use when they want to bring themselves back into the current world. “Grounding” involves non-judgmentally focusing on different sets of objects that will require different senses in your brain. One step of the grounding process might be to stop, smell the air, and take the time to consider what scents in the air create the air you breathed in. Grounding is going to be one of the most common forms of “meditation,” in the sense that you know what it is, but you are skeptical about the beliefs. When all is said and done, you can rest assured knowing that you are going to go back, healthier than ever.
How Does it Work?
Now that you know a little bit more about what you can expect from going into the meditation itself, you can begin to look into how it can benefit you even more. However, before you can do this, you will want to get a good understanding of meditation. There are many benefits of meditation for anxiety that have been recorded in medical journals for hundreds of years now.
The way that this kind of meditation can help with your anxiety, both acute and chronic anxiety, is that it helps to “ground” you in reality. Rather than getting into a vicious cycle about thinking about the worst possible thing that can happen and then worrying about the possibility of that, when you use mindfulness and meditation during an anxiety episode, you will focus on how you feel from an objective standpoint.
For example, consider a situation where someone begins to worry about how he or she will perform at a business presentation and begins to have anxiety about it. That person might begin to think of all the possible things that can go wrong, from the highly likely to the completely unreasonable. Unless that cycle is broken, it is only going to intensify unless there is some way to stop your brain from dead in its tracks, which is where mindfulness meditation comes into play.
Practicing Mindfulness Meditation
The goal of mindfulness meditation is to work on detaching yourself from your own anxious thoughts. Denial is something that can make everything worse, there are times when you simply need to acknowledge that you have certain thoughts that may be anxiety-inducing, but otherwise harmless. With mindfulness, you will turn your attention away from what you may or may not do during a business presentation, but you will instead focus more on undeniable feelings and sensations. You cannot know for certain whether you will forget an important line in your presentation, but you can know for a fact how the floor might feel on your skin.
Another core concept to mindfulness meditation is the idea of being “mindful,” or aware of how you are feeling. When you are able to pick apart what is causing you to feel as anxious about something as you might be, it can help you to feel a little bit better about the situation. At the worst, it can give you a good sense of what is going on and what issues you might need to tend to when you are done meditating.
How Do You Get Started?
Now that you know a little bit more about what meditation is, what it can do for you, and what type of meditation you should be focusing on, you may wonder where you begin meditating. For some people, it really can be as easy as sitting on the ground, closing their eyes, and taking in all of the sensory input in the room that they are in so that they can practice good mindfulness. However, for most people, especially those who do not have a lot of experience in being mindful, it is not that easy. Traditionally, mindfulness meditation (often abbreviated as “mindfulness-based stress reduction” [MBSR]) is done by a talented instructor who will use music and a soothing voice to guide you into a state where you can think about your emotions and how you feel without feeling the burden of anxiety as much.
If getting in touch with an instructor is something that would cause you to be even more anxious in the first place, there are absolutely plenty of courses that you can take, so you may want to consider one near your home. Thankfully, there are instructors who will offer online courses, meaning that you will be able to get the guidance you need without having to converse with anyone in the process.
When you are ready to begin practicing mindfulness meditation, you will also need to make sure that you can perform the following steps, as this will make meditation significantly easier. You will want to be sitting in a chair, with your feet straight and flat on the floor so that you are also physically grounded. You will want to try focusing on the sound of your breath without changing the way you breathe when you try to think about it and not as a remote process. During this process, an anxious person’s mind will almost certainly wonder. When this happens, you will simply want to acknowledge the fact that the thought crossed your mind and you will want to bring yourself back to focusing on your breathing. By doing this process for about 10 minutes at a time, each day, you will find that it can help drastically in deducing the amount of anxiety you might have about the world around you.
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